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

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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 bi 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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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 bi 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  

30 review for The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian's Art Changed Science

  1. 5 out of 5

    Manybooks

    While each chapter heading of Joyce Sidman's The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Marian's Art Changed Science features one of Sidman's signature (and as usual quite simply exquisite and magical) poems, I for one did not even really notice them all that much at first (simply because I was and yes remain so enchanted and delighted with and by the main narrartive, with the author's concise, readable and massively enlighteninging biography of Maria Sibylla Merian, a German artist of the latter While each chapter heading of Joyce Sidman's The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Marian's Art Changed Science features one of Sidman's signature (and as usual quite simply exquisite and magical) poems, I for one did not even really notice them all that much at first (simply because I was and yes remain so enchanted and delighted with and by the main narrartive, with the author's concise, readable and massively enlighteninging biography of Maria Sibylla Merian, a German artist of the latter 17th and early 18th century, who is now considered by many to likely also have been one of the first entymologists and ecologists). Accompanied by an absolute treasure trove of Maria Sibylla Merian's signature, detailed artwork of moths, butterflies, flowers, trees and the like, as well as additional historical and cultural information on topics as diverse as the witch crazes in Europe from 1450-1750, the first museums, moth versus butterfly, slavery in Surinam etc., The Girl Who Drew Butterflies focusses on the main and essential points of Merian's life (from her childhood in Frankfurt to her solo travels with her daughter Dorothea to the Dutch colony of Surinam), presenting a both interesting and always engaging, approachable account (suitable for older children from about the age of eleven or so, but really, also of much potential interest to and for adults, especially since while in Europe, and especially in Germany, Maria Sibylla Merian's legacy and artwork are pretty well known now, this has not really and unfortunately all that much been the case in especially North America). Highly recommended (with the detailed bibliographical information, timelines and source acknowledgements being appreciated added bonuses, and indeed, the only reason, I am ranking The Girl Who Drew Butterflies with four stars instead of five stars is that the blurb regarding the witch crazes in Europe is in my opinion rather misleading, as Joyce Sidman seems to claim and insinuate with her words that this was only or at least mostly a phenomenon in Germany, which is patently untrue, as the rampant fear of witchcraft, sorcery and its resulting inquisitions were equally present in areas of France, Switzerland, Austria etc., that it was a pan-European and not just a German scenario).

  2. 5 out of 5

    R. G. Nairam

    My, what a gorgeous book. Confident, precise text, loads of direct quotes from Maria Merian, and so many of her illustrations included. It also includes small historical side-notes about different aspects of life in the 17th and 18th centuries that don't distract from the biography (or science). Sidman speculates about various parts of Maria's life that there isn't much information about, but never makes unwarranted claims, which is impressive for a book targeted at children/young adults. The de My, what a gorgeous book. Confident, precise text, loads of direct quotes from Maria Merian, and so many of her illustrations included. It also includes small historical side-notes about different aspects of life in the 17th and 18th centuries that don't distract from the biography (or science). Sidman speculates about various parts of Maria's life that there isn't much information about, but never makes unwarranted claims, which is impressive for a book targeted at children/young adults. The design of the book is also beautiful. Lots of sources included in the back matter, and a lovely author's note.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Donalyn

    Beautiful biography of 17th Century naturalist and artist Maria Merian. An outstanding work of scholarship with extensive resources cited.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    (Plate showing the stages of the Cocytius antaeus from Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium by Maria Sibylla Merian) Prior to reading this, I had never heard of Maria Merian and had no idea she is considered to be one of the first European naturalists, in addition to an accomplished artist. It was inspiring to read about her dedication to studying the whole process of metamorphosis from egg to butterfly, including documentation of the hosts plants. Prior to Maria's research and beautifully illu (Plate showing the stages of the Cocytius antaeus from Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium by Maria Sibylla Merian) Prior to reading this, I had never heard of Maria Merian and had no idea she is considered to be one of the first European naturalists, in addition to an accomplished artist. It was inspiring to read about her dedication to studying the whole process of metamorphosis from egg to butterfly, including documentation of the hosts plants. Prior to Maria's research and beautifully illustrated publications completed during the 1600s and early 1700s, the belief was most insects were a product of spontaneous generation. Maria's books not only transformed the world of etymology but they were also works of art. This book by Joyce Sidman is also a thing of beauty. It is well written and includes many of Maria's original illustrations and scientific research. I can understand why The Girl Who Drew Butterflies won multiple literary awards during 2018.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Andreia ❤The Butterfly Lover❤

    ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING Historical nonfiction book!! 🥰🤩 I LOVED IT!! ❤It has often happened that the rarest and most beautiful caterpillars change into the simplest creatures, and the simplest caterpillars become the most beautiful moths and butterflies.♥️ M.M. In many ways, Maria was an enigma. She rarelly wrote of anything but caterpillars. What we know is that she had boundless energy, insatiable curiosity, and superhuman focus - traits that might have been difficult to live with, but ones that ABSOLUTELY FASCINATING Historical nonfiction book!! 🥰🤩 I LOVED IT!! ❤It has often happened that the rarest and most beautiful caterpillars change into the simplest creatures, and the simplest caterpillars become the most beautiful moths and butterflies.♥️ M.M. In many ways, Maria was an enigma. She rarelly wrote of anything but caterpillars. What we know is that she had boundless energy, insatiable curiosity, and superhuman focus - traits that might have been difficult to live with, but ones that marked her as a true scientist at a time when the odds were stacked against her. Like other intrepid field biologists who even today continue her groundbreaking work, she always followed the mystery - while remaining a bit of a mystery herself.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Laura Harrison

    Wow! Just wow! I wonder if it will win a Newbery or a Caldecott. It is pretty spectacular.

  7. 4 out of 5

    KC

    This is an astonishingly well crafted biography on naturalist and German artist Maria Merian. Every page is filled with her art, quotes, historic events, and each scientific stage of an emerging butterfly. While reading her story and scanning the artwork, I made the realization as to how similar they are to John Audubon's exquisite representation of birds. Needless to say, his work is inspired by Merian's. A wonderful addition to any library collection.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Donna Merritt

    After reading Jeannine Atkins's Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science, I was intrigued by the accomplishments of Maria Merian. I was thrilled to see that Joyce Sidman was writing an entire book on her. The result is a combination of art, science, and poetry—my favorite things. It's well researched, readable, and interesting. Joyce includes her own photographs as well as original illustrations from Maria. Each chapter begins with a poem, aptly titled "Egg" and "Hatching" and "Molting" After reading Jeannine Atkins's Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science, I was intrigued by the accomplishments of Maria Merian. I was thrilled to see that Joyce Sidman was writing an entire book on her. The result is a combination of art, science, and poetry—my favorite things. It's well researched, readable, and interesting. Joyce includes her own photographs as well as original illustrations from Maria. Each chapter begins with a poem, aptly titled "Egg" and "Hatching" and "Molting" and such. (The entire book was wonderful, but those poems and photos are my favorite parts of the story.) In an age when the contributions of women were neither accepted nor recognized for their importance, Maria perseveres and leaves as her legacy much about the true order of insects, destroying long-held myths as she documents their origins. The glossary, author's note, timeline, quote sources, and bibliography make this a must for every classroom and library, K to 12. "Patience is a beneficial little herb." ~Maria Merian

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Oh my. Sidman does it again. What a talent. Gorgeous book illustrations and designs. engaging text, powerful biography, rich and accurate technology and science, fascinating history, end-matter, and a poem. In a way I love the poem the most, how we read one verse at the beginning of each chapter, and how it's about a butterfly but is also a metaphor for a life of anyone, especially for Maria. I'm just blown away by all the different things we learned. The processes of engraving and printing. The Oh my. Sidman does it again. What a talent. Gorgeous book illustrations and designs. engaging text, powerful biography, rich and accurate technology and science, fascinating history, end-matter, and a poem. In a way I love the poem the most, how we read one verse at the beginning of each chapter, and how it's about a butterfly but is also a metaphor for a life of anyone, especially for Maria. I'm just blown away by all the different things we learned. The processes of engraving and printing. The sugarcane and slavery of Surinam. The community of the Labadists. The development of science from its roots w/ Aristotle, through superstition, through catalogs of extensive but casual observations, to the beginnings of actual focused careful observation and experimentation. Such a joy to read & view, and such a satisfying learning experience. This book is a must-buy for every library that serves children and a must-read for every family. Families that homeschool should buy it, because rereads will be enriching. And I'm pretty sure this is a book that will be worth handing down to the next generation, too.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Phair

    Beautifully designed, luxuriantly illustrated children's non-fiction book that would appeal to adults as well. Presents biography of Maria Merian in late 1600s who from childhood became fascinated with insect life- at that time seen as vermin and beneath the interest of good Christians. Focusing in particular on 'summer birds' as butterflies were known she made a serious study of their life cycles and habits and, coming from an artistic family background, was able to make and eventually publish Beautifully designed, luxuriantly illustrated children's non-fiction book that would appeal to adults as well. Presents biography of Maria Merian in late 1600s who from childhood became fascinated with insect life- at that time seen as vermin and beneath the interest of good Christians. Focusing in particular on 'summer birds' as butterflies were known she made a serious study of their life cycles and habits and, coming from an artistic family background, was able to make and eventually publish exquisite colored drawings of her subjects. The book provides extensive info on butterflies and moths as well as Maria's life and difficulties as a woman trying to make a living in a male world [did not know that women in her culture and time were not allowed to work in oils- that was a medium for men only.]

  11. 4 out of 5

    Karina

    This is a beautiful book about the life of Maria Sibyl Merian, one of the first female entomologists. Maria's meticulous research and understanding of butterflies, plus her incredible artistic ability, makes her a fascinating woman to learn about. I can't imagine a better writer than acclaimed poet Joyce Sidman to write about this incredible person. This book is beautiful produced with many of Maria's artwork alongside photographs, poetry, and interesting biographical information. A must have fo This is a beautiful book about the life of Maria Sibyl Merian, one of the first female entomologists. Maria's meticulous research and understanding of butterflies, plus her incredible artistic ability, makes her a fascinating woman to learn about. I can't imagine a better writer than acclaimed poet Joyce Sidman to write about this incredible person. This book is beautiful produced with many of Maria's artwork alongside photographs, poetry, and interesting biographical information. A must have for all library collections!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ed Erwin

    Very well done, child friendly biography of one of the first female scientists, as well as one of the first of any gender to realize that caterpillars and butterflies are the same species! At a time when women were not allowed to study or publish, and when an interest in insects could easily get you burned as a witch, she documented the life-cycles of many types of insects in Europe, and even went to South America to study life there. She didn't just observe outdoors, but also grew caterpillars Very well done, child friendly biography of one of the first female scientists, as well as one of the first of any gender to realize that caterpillars and butterflies are the same species! At a time when women were not allowed to study or publish, and when an interest in insects could easily get you burned as a witch, she documented the life-cycles of many types of insects in Europe, and even went to South America to study life there. She didn't just observe outdoors, but also grew caterpillars from eggs up to adults, documenting their foods and life-cycles in gorgeous and accurate prints. It is a bit shocking to me how little Europeans knew of the natural world in the 1600s. Even though many people would be working outdoors, with plenty of exposure to birds, butterflies, and frogs, they still didn't know that tadpoles grew into frogs, or that butterflies came from eggs. Instead, both were thought to just spontaneously appear. Many of her drawings are beautifully reproduced here. They went on to influence many others, notably including John Audubon, and Linnaeus even used them to help him develop his classification system. Yet, I wouldn't know about her except from this book for children.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    I don't like bugs and I LOVED this book! What gorgeous drawings Merian did! This was a great biography by a poet who recounts in the back how she decided to do something so far removed from her normal field (kind of poems about science.). She did put in some haiku, etc but mostly this book is straight prose and delightful illustrations mostly taken from the subject's illustrations. This was one independent lady for her times. She escaped what appeared to be an unhappy marriage the traditional wa I don't like bugs and I LOVED this book! What gorgeous drawings Merian did! This was a great biography by a poet who recounts in the back how she decided to do something so far removed from her normal field (kind of poems about science.). She did put in some haiku, etc but mostly this book is straight prose and delightful illustrations mostly taken from the subject's illustrations. This was one independent lady for her times. She escaped what appeared to be an unhappy marriage the traditional way: joined a religious house. Her husband apparently tried to retrieve her by force but finally gave up, divorced her and remarried. Her two daughters were solidly on Mom's side, apparently. Merian showed that bugs did not rise by spontaneous generation which was the belief at the time. This was a huge advance for science and even people of the time acknowledged this and seemed to respect Merian's exacting observation and meticulous detailed illustrations. Glad I read this during Women's Month!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    As Newbery Honor-winning author Joyce Sidman explains, Maria Merian, born in 1647, loved to draw bugs from the time she was a young girl. But just drawing them wasn’t enough; she wanted to understand them as well: “With no formal training or university education, Maria Merian took on the role of artist, adventurer, and scientist in seventeenth-century Europe - a time when women were rarely allowed responsibilities outside the home, and unusual interests led to accusations of witchcraft.” But as Si As Newbery Honor-winning author Joyce Sidman explains, Maria Merian, born in 1647, loved to draw bugs from the time she was a young girl. But just drawing them wasn’t enough; she wanted to understand them as well: “With no formal training or university education, Maria Merian took on the role of artist, adventurer, and scientist in seventeenth-century Europe - a time when women were rarely allowed responsibilities outside the home, and unusual interests led to accusations of witchcraft.” But as Sidman notes: “Her intrepid fieldwork and careful observation helped uncover the truth about metamorphosis and changed the course of science forever." This beautiful book about Maria and her accomplishments begins with an insect glossary - such a great idea to put a glossary in the front! It is helpful to know at the outset, for example, the differences between moths and butterflies. The illustrations in this book are lovely. Some are drawings and paintings (many of which are reproductions of those made by Maria Merian herself), and some are stylized excerpts from Maria’s writings, but there are also many contemporary color photographs. There are informational pictures with captions as well, like one demonstrating the parts of a copper engraver’s workshop, similar to that owned by Maria's father. When Maria's father died, her mother eventually remarried, this time to a different type of artist. Jacob Marrel specialized in still lifes, and Maria was happy to help him. The author reports: “Her stepfather prized insects as models and sent Maria outside to capture them.” At the time, most people believed insects came from “spontaneous generation.” This was Aristotle’s theory and no one questioned it. Marrel taught Maria how to draw and paint, and soon she was so skillful that she was helping produce pictures for sale. But her curiosity over the nature of caterpillars, moths, and butterflies only intensified, and she began to do her own experiments to find out where they came from and how they developed. Women in Maria’s time could not attend a university. They could not neglect their “duties” as a female in favor of intellectual pursuits. They also had a “duty” to marry (and indeed, that particular duty was necessary for financial reasons as well as societal ones). In time Maria married one of her stepfather’s apprentices. But in spite of having and raising children and doing housekeeping, she continued to paint and even published a book in 1675 featuring pictures of her flowers. In 1679 she published a second book, this one including not only plants but images of specific caterpillars showing the preference of plant associated with each one. Maria found it increasingly difficult to balance all the parts of her life. In 1685, she left her husband, took her daughters and widowed mother, and went to join a religious commune in the northern Netherlands, where her half brother already lived. After six years, finding the restrictions of the community too limiting, she took her daughters to Amsterdam. Because the Netherlands [outside of religious communes] had more progressive laws for women, Maria could open her own business there. She became successful, but her curiosity hadn’t abated. Now she wanted to know more than just about European species of insects. In 1699, Maria and her younger daughter left for Surinam. [Suriname, a small country on the northeastern coast of South America, was formerly known as Surinam when became a Dutch colony beginning in 1667.] The author writes: “Maria delighted in the diversity of insects in Surinam and carefully painted them all, from stinging caterpillars to tarantulas.” But the climate made her ill, and after just short of two years, she and her daughter returned to Amsterdam. In 1705, she published a book with her findings, The Metamorphosis of the Insects of Surinam. The book was widely praised and even acknowledged by the Royal Society of London, the famed scientific society which would not admit women to its membership for another 250 years. But Maria never really recovered from the tropical illness she contracted in Surinam and died at the age of sixty-nine in 1715. The author writes: “On the very day of her death, an agent of Tsar Peter the Great bought a collection of almost three hundred of her original watercolors to help found Russia’s first art museum.” Moreover, the famous scientist Carl Linnaeus relied heavily on Maria’s discoveries for his own work. But many men were offended by her presumption to conduct science, and insisted she had to have had help from a man. Moreover, they said, she was only self-taught, and therefore not a real “scientist.” Today’s scientists, Sidman points out, “have rediscovered and acknowledged her work for what it is: amazingly beautiful, accurate portrayals of insect metamorphoses and ecosystems.” The book concludes with an Author’s Note, a Timeline, and a Selected Bibliography. Recommended age range is Age 10 - 12 years. Evaluation: This book is replete with historical side notes as well as gorgeous photographs and paintings of plants and insects. Even aside from the inspirational story of Maria Merian, the book has a great deal to recommend it in the categories of history, science, and art. Note: Awards include the 2019 Sibert Medal Informational Book Award from the Association for Library Service to Children, and New York Public Library Top 10 Best Books of 2018. Rating: 4.5/5

  15. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    I love Joyce Sidman's books and I adored this one. What a treat to discover Maria Merian's accomplishment! What a marvel! And how marvelous to read this and be in awe of the beauty and wonder of the natural world. It really is astounding. This is a perfect text for students like the ones I taught when I was at a Reggio-Emilia school as the school librarian as this book encourages direct observation of something in order to learn about it. This one is definitely deserving of all the awards!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Maria Merian lived a fascinating life: an artist, scientist, wife, mother, religious seeker, entrepreneur, explorer, writer, observer, and all-around amazing person who never stopped pushing the boundaries of what was possible. This book elegantly tells the story of her life in a tidily assembled collection of narrative, rich illustrations, quotes from Merian, and contextual sidebars that never interrupt the flow of the story. There has been a push of late to draw attention to un- or under-known Maria Merian lived a fascinating life: an artist, scientist, wife, mother, religious seeker, entrepreneur, explorer, writer, observer, and all-around amazing person who never stopped pushing the boundaries of what was possible. This book elegantly tells the story of her life in a tidily assembled collection of narrative, rich illustrations, quotes from Merian, and contextual sidebars that never interrupt the flow of the story. There has been a push of late to draw attention to un- or under-known female scientists. I hope it lasts, because these stories deserve to be told. We have been the poorer for hiding them for so long.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Wow! What an undertaking, Ms. Sidman! Congratulations! A fascinating and beautiful biography of an amazing woman who really brought art and science together--in the 17th Century!!! Amazing book. Breathtaking illustrations. Meticulous research. A work of art to be poured over! Loved the poem and photo of the caterpillars that Sidman raised while writing this book that head each chapter.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Anita Delp

    The fusing of art and science comes alive in this book about the life of Maria Merian, a bold young woman who paved the way in the 1600's for multitudes of brilliant woman. Her tireless work built the foundation for the field of entomology. Enjoy this book for the art alone and learn about her genius and groundbreaking contribution to science along the way.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Queeey

    A visually stunning book. I loved the illustrations and images of original works of Maria’s art. I also love that it was more than a biography. It had history lessons and science lessons as well and all beautifully presented throughout the story of Maria Merian’s life.

  20. 4 out of 5

    DaNae

    An explosion of talent, curiosity, and the scientific method. More than a century before Darwin and The Beagle set out Merian traveled to a land distant and rich in experience and bugs.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gail

    Very interesting book for both adults and children. Lovely illustrations of Maria Merian's art. She took the time to observe - one of our first woman scientists!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Don

    This is one of the most beautifully crafted young adult books I've come across. Chronicling the life of Maria Merian, a significant pioneer of natural history through her art and studious observations of nature, Sidman has created a mini-masterpiece. Merian was well ahead of her time having both trade skills in drawing, painting and engraving as well as a deep interest in nature, she epitomized the life of a budding scientist well before anyone was doing something similar. Her level of observati This is one of the most beautifully crafted young adult books I've come across. Chronicling the life of Maria Merian, a significant pioneer of natural history through her art and studious observations of nature, Sidman has created a mini-masterpiece. Merian was well ahead of her time having both trade skills in drawing, painting and engraving as well as a deep interest in nature, she epitomized the life of a budding scientist well before anyone was doing something similar. Her level of observation through her art debunked, for example, the Aristotelian idea that butterflies and moths spontaneously generated from dead carcasses. She carefully watched the lifecycle of insects by drawing in detail their metamorphoses over time. The scholar in this video calls her the greatest woman ever (high praise!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzThe... The books she published with her art and observations are priceless historical works today. The book is wonderfully illustrated with Merian's examples along with quotes from her journals and small engravings discussing some of the historical context she lived in during the late 1600s. The fonts, drawings and layout are a joy to look at. This would be a gem for any young reader 10+ (not to mention adults!!) A great book to read together.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Connie

    I found this at my local library in the children’s non-fiction section. I had never heard of Maria Merian before, and this was the perfect introduction. This book is beautiful and wonderfully arranged. It has the ideal amount of information about the time and place in which she lived and the everyday circumstances and things she would have been familiar with. She was a fascinating person. Her art is beautiful and her methods of observation astoundingly modern for the time in which she lived.

  24. 5 out of 5

    raffaela

    An engaging and gorgeously illustrated children's book. This well-written biography of Maria Merriam is beautifully intertwined with information on the insects she spent her life studying and the artwork she painted. (The book's undercurrent of feminism detracts from it, but only slightly).

  25. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    This is just an amazingly beautiful book filled with the true story of a woman out of her time. Her study and art are incredible, and I definitely learned some new things about metamorphosis. One of those books you want to revisit as it’s so pleasing to the eye and soul.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mary Norell Hedenstrom

    Very comprehensive biography of one of my all-time heroes. This is a great upper elementary book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Stimpson

    At a time when women weren't allowed to study, apprentice, or have their own careers, Maria Merian honed her artistic skills, made important ecological discoveries, and published her own books. Not only is the story fascinating, but the book is gorgeous with Merian's artwork, full-color photographs of some of her subjects, and other illustrations and photographs to supplement the text. I am excited to share this book with my students next school year.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Bell

    Wonderful book. I'm glad to have learned of Maria Merian. This is a nonfiction book about a very early naturalist and artist. What's different is that this one started her career as an amateur and a young woman. Remarkable for the 1600's. And she helped in a big way dispel the notion of Spontaneous Generation. On a side note - and the book doesn't mention this at all - her father who died when she was three is quite a bit more famous than she ever was. He drew maps and etchings of very many Europ Wonderful book. I'm glad to have learned of Maria Merian. This is a nonfiction book about a very early naturalist and artist. What's different is that this one started her career as an amateur and a young woman. Remarkable for the 1600's. And she helped in a big way dispel the notion of Spontaneous Generation. On a side note - and the book doesn't mention this at all - her father who died when she was three is quite a bit more famous than she ever was. He drew maps and etchings of very many European cities during his lifetime. If you visit an old Germanic, Italian or French city make sure to pick up a postcard of the Merian Map of that city. :-)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ina

    This is a beautiful filled with richly detailed drawings and text. It is a well researched book about a little-known woman from 17th Century, Maria Merian, who studied bugs. She was one of the first naturalists, an accomplished artist, and in her own way one of the first feminists. This biography gives the reader a complete picture of this amazing woman’s life as well as well as putting that life in the context of the world she lived in so that the reader can appreciate just how extraordinary th This is a beautiful filled with richly detailed drawings and text. It is a well researched book about a little-known woman from 17th Century, Maria Merian, who studied bugs. She was one of the first naturalists, an accomplished artist, and in her own way one of the first feminists. This biography gives the reader a complete picture of this amazing woman’s life as well as well as putting that life in the context of the world she lived in so that the reader can appreciate just how extraordinary this woman was.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

    This book is an amazing gorgeous blend of biography, science and art.

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