Bonner, Hannah

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Bonner, Hannah

Personal

Female. Hobbies and other interests: Tai Chi.

Addresses

Home—Spain. E-mail—[email protected]

Career

Author and illustrator.

Writings

SELF-ILLUSTRATED

When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life before Dinosaurs, National Geographic (Washington, DC), 2003.

When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life Long before Dinosaurs, National Geographic (Washington, DC), 2007.

ILLUSTRATOR

Melvin Berger, Scholastic Science Dictionary, Scholastic Reference (New York, NY), 2000.

Contributor of illustrations to numerous educational materials.

Sidelights

Although she has amassed credits as both a writer and an illustrator, Hannah Bonner primarily considers herself an artist due to her lifelong passion for illustration. Bonner began her career illustrating scientific topics during high school, when she was asked by her father to illustrate a book he had written about plants native to the Spanish island of Mallorca. "I've been drawing non-stop since I was a toddler, and have worked as an illustrator for many years," Bonner told Cynthia Leitich Smith for Cynsations online. "I've illustrated all sorts of things—early readers, science-oriented educational materials, Majorcan folk tales, images for cookie packages, sea birds, fish, you name it. Over the years, I have been able to shift more and more into drawing only what I love, which is biology, paleontology, and the natural world in general."

Bonner's first self-illustrated title, When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life before Dinosaurs, came about as a joint idea between Bonner and an editor at National Geographic and focuses on the giant insects that lived before the dinosaurs. Balancing research, writing, and illustrating, "Bonner surrounds a lively, specific narrative … with a gallery of simply drawn, precisely detailed land and sea life," according to a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Calling When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth "an exemplary curriculum support resource," Francisca Goldsmith added in Booklist that "kids who dig dinosaurs will read the book purely for pleasure." Describing both text and illustrations, Steven Engelfried wrote in School Library Journal that "the facts and the fun work well together, and it's always clear which is which."

A "prequel" of sorts to When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth, When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life Long before Dinosaurs covers the development in the Silurian and Devo-

nian periods, the eras where life on Earth moved from the oceans to dry land. "Bonner serves up a second heaping course of science that will both stick to the ribs and tickle them," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor. Noting that Bonner gears her text to upper elementary and middle-school readers, Danielle J. Ford wrote in Horn Book that the author/illustrator's "friendly and engaging writing enlivens a comprehensive explanation of conceptually challenging biology." Todd Morning, reviewing the natural-history title for Booklist, explained that Bonner's illustrated time line "manages to be funny" while also helping students "put each time period into context."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, February 15, 2004, Francisca Goldsmith, review of When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life before Dinosaurs, p. 1056; July 1, 2007, Todd Morning, review of When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life Long before Dinosaurs, p. 59.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, November, 2007, Elizabeth Bush, review of When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm, p. 131.

Horn Book, January-February, 2008, Danielle J. Ford, review of When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm, p. 106.

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2004, review of When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth, p. 80; September 15, 2007, review of When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm.

Library Media Connection, April-May, 2004, review of When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth, p. 77.

School Library Journal, February, 2001, John Peters, review of Scholastic Science Dictionary, p. 77; February, 2004, Steven Engelfried, review of When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth, p. 126.

Science Teacher, January, 2005, review of When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth, p. 66.

ONLINE

Cynsations Blog,http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/ (February 7, 2008), Cynthia Leitich Smith, interview with Bonner.

Guild of Natural Science Illustrators Web site,http://gnsi.science-art.com/ (January 13, 2009), "Hannah Bonner."