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The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian's Art Changed Science
Contributor(s): Sidman, Joyce
ISBN: 0544717139     ISBN-13: 9780544717138
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
    OUR PRICE: $16.20  
Product Type: Hardcover
Published: February 2018
Annotation: "Newbery-Honor winning author Joyce Sidman explores the extraordinary life and scientific discoveries of Maria Merian, who discovered the truth about metamorphosis and documented the science behind the mystery in this visual biography that features many original paintings by Maria herself."--
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Entomologists; Germany; Biography; Juvenile literature.
Entomology; Germany; History; 17th century; Juvenile literature.
Scientific illustrators; Biography; Juvenile literature.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Women
- Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Science & Technology
- Juvenile Nonfiction | Animals | Butterflies, Moths & Caterpillars
Dewey: 595.7092
LCCN: 2016057731
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Book type: Juvenile Non-Fiction
Physical Information: 10.00" H x 8.00" W x 1.00" (1.00 lbs) 120 pages
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q71142
Reading Level: 10.5   Interest Level: Grades 6-8   Point Value: 6.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2018 Fall)
Excellent reproductions of seventeenth-century German naturalist Merian's gorgeous--and groundbreaking--illustrations of butterflies and moths let readers appreciate their accurate scientific detail and artistry. Merian's biography is told in twelve chapters titled with butterfly life-cycle stages, and Sidman's accompanying photographs illustrate each stage. The book includes numerous excerpts from Merian's journals, historical illustrations, and maps. Reading list, timeline. Bib., glos., ind. Copyright 2018 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2018 #1)
Sidman introduces readers to Maria Merian, a seventeenth-century German naturalist whose illustrations of the life cycles of butterflies and moths included groundbreaking scientific details, such as the inclusion of eggs in the insect life cycle and the portrayal of the ecological interdependence of plants and animals. Excellent reproductions of the gorgeous botanical prints allow readers to appreciate their accurate scientific detail and artistry. Merian's story, from childhood through her often unconventional and adventurous adult life, is told in twelve chapters, each titled with a stage in a butterfly's life cycle; photographs illustrating each of the butterfly stages were taken by the author, who was inspired to raise the creatures herself. Merian was a prolific diarist, and the inclusion of numerous excerpts from her journals, along with historical illustrations and maps, gives the reader glimpses into this period of history and of the talented women who lived in it. A timeline, a glossary, sources, additional readings, and an informative author's note are included. danielle j. ford Copyright 2017 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2017 November #3)

Spreads splashed with vibrant, eye-catching paintings of insects and flowers help tell the story of 17th-century German trailblazer Maria Merian. Eschewing the mores of her time, she became a leading botanical artist, naturalist, and (possibly) the world's first ecologist, as she depicted insects—in all their developmental stages—alongside their botanical food sources and helped establish the idea that butterflies and moths come from caterpillars. Sidman (Round) punctuates a well-researched, engaging narrative ("She had the curiosity of a true scientist, the patience it took to raise insects, and the superb artistic skill necessary to share her observations") with excerpts from Merian's journals to bring the courageous artist's own voice into the mix. Eclectic sidebars contextualize the biography (one discusses witch hunts of the era), along with archival images, maps, and full-color photographs. Stages of butterfly metamorphosis (accompanied by a trademark Sidman nature poem) serve as fitting chapter headings and mirror the stages of Merian's life; a chapter titled "Flight" focuses on her groundbreaking research trip to Surinam. An author's note, timeline, bibliography, and index conclude this beautifully designed and expansive portrait of a gifted boundary breaker. Ages 10–12. (Feb.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2017 December)

Gr 5–8—Under the tutelage of her stepfather, artist Jacob Marrel, young teen Maria Sibylla Merian developed her artistic talent and found ways to combine it with her interest and careful observation of caterpillars, moths, and butterflies. In Germany, the Netherlands, and Suriname, from about 1660 to 1710, Merian (some paintings use her married name of Graff) moved from more traditional "lady artist" subjects such as flowers, to depicting the life cycles and habitats of caterpillars, moths, butterflies, spiders, insects, and the natural struggle for survival. At a time when many believed in the spontaneous generation of flying insects, Merian's meticulous observations allowed her to document that eggs became caterpillars which then transformed into butterflies or moths. Sidman starts each chapter with a verse, otherwise telling the story through narrative with ample photographs, etchings, maps, paintings, and reproductions of Merian's botanical art throughout. In pages of boxed text, readers learn a bit about topics that influenced Merian's life, such as printing processes, religion in the 1600s, and slavery in Suriname. The butterfly life cycle, from egg to maturity, was an endless source of inspiration, and is at the center of many of her paintings. The thorough back matter will aid in classroom use. VERDICT An excellent choice for young artists, budding scientists, fledgling entomologists, and fans of biography.—Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley Sch., Fort Worth, TX

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.