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The Girl Who Drew Butterflies|Joyce Sidman
The Girl Who Drew Butterflies : How Maria Merian's Art Changed Science
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Overview

In this beautiful nonfiction biography, a Robert F. Sibert Medal winner, the Newbery Honor-winning author Joyce Sidman introduces readers to one of the first female entomologists and a woman who flouted convention in the pursuit of knowledge and her passion for insects. One of the first naturalists to observe live insects directly, Maria Sibylla Merian was also one of the first to document the metamorphosis of the butterfly. Richly illustrated throughout with full-color original paintings by Merian herself, The Grew Who Drew Butterflies will enthrall young scientists. Bugs, of all kinds, were considered to be "born of mud" and to be "beasts of the devil." Why would anyone, let alone a girl, want to study and observe them? The Girl Who Drew Butterflies answers this question. Booklist Editor's Choice Chicago Public Library Best of the Year Kirkus Best Book of the Year Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book Junior Library Guild Selection New York Public Library Top 10 Best Books of the Year

  • ISBN-13: 9780544717138
  • ISBN-10: 0544717139
  • Publisher: Clarion Books
  • Publish Date: February 2018
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.18 pounds
  • Page Count: 160
  • Reading Level: Ages 9-12

Beauty in the smallest details

A 17th-century German girl with a passion for caterpillars and butterflies may seem like an obscure topic for a children’s book, yet Newbery Honor winner Joyce Sidman has painted a stunningly beautiful and accessible portrait of the relatively unknown scientific illustrator and ecologist Maria Sibylla Merian.

Merian was born to a family of printers, but life wasn’t a world of opportunity for a young girl in her day. Still, she managed to absorb her father’s business knowledge and paired it with her passion for nature and drawing. She studied caterpillars and butterflies incessantly, with a fervor many thought odd. Seeking to understand each insect’s life cycle, she sketched and recorded their stages of development and the plants they ate. Her passion eventually took her to the Dutch colony of Surinam, where her observations led to her grandest accomplishment: publishing her own volume on the insects of the South American country.

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian’s Art Changed Science is filled with Merian’s stunningly detailed and colorful botanical drawings created more than 300 years ago. Sidman’s arrangement of the story and its chapter titles (as well as one of Sidman’s original poetic stanzas) smartly draw a parallel between Merian’s growth as an artist and the stages of a butterfly’s life.

 

This article was originally published in the March 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.