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


Overview - Robert F. Sibert Medal winner

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?

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. In this visual nonfiction biography, richly illustrated throughout with full-color original paintings by Merian herself, the Newbery Honor-winning author Joyce Sidman paints her own picture of one of the first female entomologists and a woman who flouted convention in the pursuit of knowledge and her passion for insects.

Booklist Editor's Choice
Chicago Public Library Best of 2018
Kirkus Best book of 2018
2018 Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book

Junior Library Guild Selection
New York Public Library Top 10 Best Books of 2018

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More About The Girl Who Drew Butterflies by Joyce Sidman
 
 
 
Overview
Robert F. Sibert Medal winner

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?

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. In this visual nonfiction biography, richly illustrated throughout with full-color original paintings by Merian herself, the Newbery Honor-winning author Joyce Sidman paints her own picture of one of the first female entomologists and a woman who flouted convention in the pursuit of knowledge and her passion for insects.

Booklist Editor's Choice
Chicago Public Library Best of 2018
Kirkus Best book of 2018
2018 Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book

Junior Library Guild Selection
New York Public Library Top 10 Best Books of 2018

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780544717138
  • ISBN-10: 0544717139
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
  • Publish Date: February 2018
  • Page Count: 160
  • Reading Level: Ages 10-12
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 7.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Nonfiction > Biography & Autobiography - Women
Books > Juvenile Nonfiction > Science & Nature - Discoveries
Books > Juvenile Nonfiction > Science & Nature - Experiments & Projects

 
BookPage Reviews

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.

 
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