About the Holiday
Welcome to the 11th anniversary of National Fossil Day! Today’s holiday puts a spotlight on paleontology and its value in the scientific community and for education. The day raises awareness of the importance of preserving fossils for future generations. To celebrate today and Earth Science Week all this week, learn more about the prehistory of your area, or read up on fossils and prehistoric creatures. Visit the National Park Service Website to learn more about today’s holiday and find many resources for classrooms, homeschooling, and family fun. There you’ll find to download a Junior Paleontology Activity Book that can help kids explore the ways paleontologists work and learn about Earth’s history, ancient plants and animals as well as changes to past climate and environments. You’ll also find 20 ideas for digging into paleontology with links to museums and national parks, a site where you can view fossils in 3D, coloring pages, and even learn your state’s fossil.
Thanks to Abrams Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of When Sue Found Sue for review consideration. All opinions about the book are my own.
When Sue Found Sue: Sue Hendrickson Discovers Her T. Rex
Written by Toni Buzzeo | Illustrated by Diana Sudyka
Sue Hendrickson was an expert at finding things. The lure of buried or lost treasures kept her busy in her hometown of Munster, Indiana. “Born shy and incredibly smart,” Sue devoured books, discovering everything she could about the things that interested her. One of her favorite places was the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. There, she reveled in the treasures others had found and dreamed of the day when she could “search the wide world for hidden treasure on her own.”
When she was seventeen, Sue began her life of treasure hunting, joining teams that searched for sunken boats, airplanes, and even cars. She went to Dominican amber mines looking for prehistoric butterflies and deserts of Peru searching for whale fossils. Finally, she headed to South Dakota to dig for dinosaurs.
She spent four summers unearthing duck-billed dinosaurs, using more and more delicate tools to expose the bones. But near the end of her fourth summer, “Sue Hendrickson felt pulled to a sandstone cliff far off in the distance.” When she had the opportunity, she took her golden retriever and hiked the seven miles to the rock.
Walking around the perimeter, she noticed what looked like bones lying on the ground. When she looked up, she was astonished to see “three enormous backbones protruding from the cliff.” The size told her they must be from a Tyrannosaurus rex. Sue hurried back to her campsite and told her team the exciting news. They “immediately named the dinosaur Sue the T. rex.”
It took five full days for the team to expose the skeleton. Then they mapped the location of each bone, photographing and drawing them. At last they began removing them, and after three weeks the bones were trucked to the Black Hills Institute. Eventually, Sue the T. rex was moved to the Field Museum in Chicago. If you visit the museum today, you will see Sue towering over you. “She is the world’s largest, most complete, best-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex fossil discovered so far”—discovered by a woman who was born to find things.
An Author’s Note about Sue Hendrickson and the battle over the T. rex skeleton as well as resources for further study and a photograph of Sue the T. rex follow the text.
Toni Buzzeo’s inspiring story of how Sue Hendrickson discovered the most complete and best-preserved T. rex fossil delves into more than the finding and excavating of the skeleton. Buzzeo also emphasizes Hendrickson’s personality and long-held love of treasure hunting, qualities that informed and aided her career choice. Readers who also harbor dreams outside the mainstream and have a steady focus will find much to admire in Buzzeo’s storytelling and Sue’s example. Kids will be awed by Sue’s early treasure-hunting exploits and fascinated by the painstaking process of unearthing fossils. When Sue follows her intuition to the cliff—without explanation or facts—readers will be reminded that they can rely on their own curiosity, experience, and ideas to carry them forward. With nods toward the value of teamwork and sprinkled with Sue’s own words about her moment of discovery, the story exposes the bones of a life well-lived and points children in the right direction.
Diana Sudyka opens the story of Sue Hendrickson with a lovely collage of the treasures she found and studied as a child and that led to her life-long love of discovery. As Sue grows, she visits the Field Museum, with its exhibits of a Triceratops and Hadrosaurus. Fast-forward several years and she’s swimming in a sea dotted with colorful coral toward an old sunken ship. But the centerpiece of the story takes place in the South Dakota hills, the layers of rock painted in stripes of earthy brown, rust, rose, and ivory. As the team works late nights to excavate the bones, a T. rex constellation appears above the team in the starry sky, urging them on. A two-page spread of how Sue the T. rex fossil appeared in its entirety in the ground is sure to elicit plenty of “Wows!,” and a rendition of Sue on exhibit in the Field Museum will no doubt inspire some travel wishes.
A book about a modern-day scientist that will engage and inspire children with scientific aspirations of their own as well as a celebration of individuality and big dreams and a must for dinosaur lovers, When Sue Found Sue would be a T. riffic addition to home, school, and public library collections.
Ages 4 – 8
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2019 | ISBN 978-1419731631
Discover more about Toni Buzzeo and her books on her website.
To learn more about Diana Sudyka, her books, and her art, visit her website.
National Dinosaur Day Activity
Hatch Your Own Dinosaur Eggs
Think there are no more dinosaur eggs to be found? Think again! You can make your own with this easy craft that will have you hatching some T.-rex-size fun! All you need are a few simple ingredients!
- Old clothes or apron
- Large box of baking soda (makes between 6 and 8 eggs)
- Food coloring
- Plastic dinosaur toys
- Wax paper
- Baking sheet
- Spray bottle (optional)
- Plastic or metal spoon, stick, popsicle stick, or other implement to chisel with
- Wear old clothes or an apron
- Cover work surface with wax paper, parchment paper, newspaper, or other protection. Food coloring can stain some surfaces
- Pour baking soda into the bowl
- Add drops of food coloring in whatever color you’d like your eggs to be. The eggs will darken when baked.
- Mix in the food coloring with the fork. You may want to use your hands, too
- When the baking soda is the color you want it, begin adding water a little at a time
- Add water until the baking soda holds together when you squeeze it in your hand
- When the baking soda is the right consistency, spoon some out into your hand or onto wax paper
- Push one plastic dinosaur into the middle
- Cover the dinosaur with more of the baking soda mixture
- Carefully form it into an egg shape
- Repeat with other dinosaurs
To Bake the Eggs
- Set the oven or toaster oven to 200 to 225 degrees
- Set the eggs on a baking sheet lined with foil
- Bake the eggs for 15 minutes, check
- Turn the eggs over and bake for 10 to 15 more minutes
- Remove from oven and let cool
To Hatch the Eggs
- Eggs can be hatched by chiseling them with a spoon, stick, or other implement
- Eggs can also be hatched by spraying or sprinkling them with vinegar
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