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The girl who drew butterflies : how Maria Merian's art changed science
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Publishers Weekly Review
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 PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
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. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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 forinsects.

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
Table of Contents
Butterfly Glossaryp. vi
The Girl in the Gardenp. viii
Chapter 1Eggp. 1
Chapter 2Hatchingp. 7
Chapter 3First Instarp. 13
Chapter 4Second Instarp. 20
Chapter 5Third Instarp. 28
Chapter 6Fourth Instarp. 34
Chapter 7Moltingp. 41
Chapter 8Pupap. 55
Chapter 9Eclosingp. 61
Chapter 10Expandingp. 74
Chapter 11Flightp. 84
Chapter 12Eggp. 103
The Woman in Her Worldp. 116
Author's Notep. 122
Timelinep. 124
Quote Sourcesp. 129
Selected Bibliographyp. 132
For Further Readingp. 136
Acknowledgmentsp. 137
Image Creditsp. 139
Indexp. 141
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