Cover image for Fossil
Ewart, Claire.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Walker, [2004]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Upon finding a special stone, a child imagines the life of a pterosaur, the ancient flying reptile that lived, died, and was fossilized into that stone. Includes facts about fossils and how they are formed.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J.PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
J.PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
J.PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
J.PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



When dinosaurs thundered across the land, and enormous reptiles swam in the salty oceans, reptiles called pterosaurs ruled the ancient skies. Claire Ewart transports readers back to the age of the dinosaurs to take flight with a majestic pterosaur that once soared through North American skies more than ninety million years ago, following it from sunup to sunup. And when the pterosaur finally lives out its natural life, layers of Earth and layers of time work to transform this creature into a fossil-an amazing transformation that happens over millions of years.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 2-3, younger for reading aloud. Kneeling over the just-discovered fossil of a flying reptile, a child imagines the long history of the creature--first gliding over Mesozoic seas to snap up a squid, avoid toothy predators, and return to an island nest; then after death, sinking to the ocean bottom, and, over millions of days, undergoing a slow transformation as the Earth changed overhead and all around. There's a dreamy quality to Ewart's brief rhyme (Weary bone, wing tips grazing wave and foam, gliding toward an island home . . . ) that is echoed in her watercolors' flowing lines, graceful forms, and subdued hues. Closely based on current theories of pterosaur habitats and behavior, but low on violence, this gateway to the deep past makes engaging listening for emergent naturalists and younger dinophiles. A bibliography and a page of additional information on fossils are appended. --John Peters Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

"I found a stone/ that once was bone," begins the girl narrator of this lyrical tale that traces a fossil's journey. Harking back to the themes she explored in Paul Fleisch-man's Time Train, Ewart shows readers the imprint of the bone in the ground on the first page, then on the next spread, depicts the bone as it appears within a prehistoric bird's anatomy ("Thin bone,/ framing skin stretched tight,/ spread to warm in dawn's first light"). Succeeding spreads clue readers into the pterosaur's habitat, diet and behavior. Ewart begins with the cycle of a single day, then smoothly makes the transition to the passage of time ("Stretch at dawn,/ again take flight./ Until, one day,/ old bone,/ tired bone, cannot rise,/ to slip again through amber skies"). A spread charts the winged being's slow descent to the ocean floor, and epochs pass-indicated by land creatures evolving on the shore, from horse-like animals to woolly mammoths-until the narrator discovers "a stone that once was bone," bringing the narrative full circle. Dinosaur fans and budding scientists will likely clamor for this snapshot of archeological and paleontological history. Ages 3-8. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 3-At the beginning of this imaginative picture book, a girl finds a fossil ("I found a stone/that once was bone"). The action then jumps back in time to trace the life, death, and fossilization of the flying reptile whose remains she has discovered. The rich, rhyming text flows smoothly, lyrically describing a typical day for the female pterosaur: "Strong bone,/skimming salty breeze,/scooping squid from teeming seas." Vibrant watercolors capture her power and graceful motion, while striking splashes of blues, greens, and yellows create vivid backgrounds of sky and sea. When the pterosaur dies, she sinks to the bottom of the ocean, "living days done./But millions of days are yet to come." The paintings depict how the creature's bones turn to fossils over time, while above, the earth's surface continues to change. The satisfying final spread shows the girl from the first page, now with her mother, and repeats the opening lines. An afterword fills in some of the details about pterosaurs and how fossils are formed. Ewart's inviting text and dramatic artwork work nicely together to describe the fossilization process in an engrossing way. This book should have wide appeal.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.