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

UPDATE TIME: 2018-07-05 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings

" This is a wonderful book that shows how a girl, determined to follow her passion, used her art to change science. Delightfully informative with lots of pictures and glimpses of what life was like when Maria Merian lived. It's a great book for middle schoolers (and older) to read and learn.Follow your passions... you never know where they will take you.. they took Maria places unexpected and brought her a lot of pleasure in the process. " said.

"Maria was obsessed with bugs,especially caterpillars. She like to watch them, study their life cycles, but most of all she liked to draw them. A delightful, well written, thoroughly researched biography of 17th century Dutch ecologist and artist, Maria Merian. Think, a female James Audubon who loves butterflies.
The list of supporting reference materials, glossaries, timelines and bibliographies is outstanding. While recommended for middle school, adults may find it intriguing. A must read for any budding entomologist
" said.

"What a fascinating story! I had no idea people used to think moths and maggots and other insects "spontaneously" appeared, and that it took the observations and investigations of a woman in the 1600s for people to begin to believe otherwise. Maria Merian's drive toward the scientific study of insects, particularly moths and butterflies, is well documented in this quick overview of her life and findings. I especially loved seeing her artistic renderings of the insects she studied - she truly had a gift for bringing nature to life on the page.

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies is a lot more than your typical biography - it also has short chapters on the process of printing and engraving, insect life cycles, life for women in the 1600s, and the slave trade, among other things. These extra tidbits provide context to Maria's story, making her life that much more interesting and inspiring to read about.
" said.

"In the late 1600’s, when people believed that insects spontaneously arose from dead things, dew, dung, or mud, there lived a girl named Maria Merian who knew better. She studied insects, especially moths and butterflies during a time when women were supposed to forgo study, especially that of insects, in favor of caring for a family and home, exclusively. Still Maria could not quench her thirst for the mystery of God’s smallest creatures, the insects. She studied and drew insect, especially the moths and butterflies in their various stages of growth and metamorphosis during their lives.

This book follows her life and parallels it with the growth and metamorphosis of the butterfly. For example, as the author discusses the eggs of insects, he talks of Maria’s early life. When he discusses hatching of the insect egg, he discusses Maria grown up, out in the world, marrying.

This small volume is filled with her colorful drawings and her moving and expressive writings that describe her fascination and love of those tiny beings she studied.

This is a wonderful book, not only about Maria Merian, but also about the time she lived in and the beliefs shared by its people.

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
" said.

"Such a beautiful book! I loved learning about Maria Merian, a person of whom I had never known. The story of her life and work is fascinating, and her included art prints are meticulously detailed and breathtaking! The author scattered portions of Maria's own writings throughout the text, and paired beautiful little poems with lovely photographs.

I loved how the chapter titles seemed to coordinate not only with the stages of a Lepidoptera's growth and metamorphosis, but also the events in Maria's life.

I read this for my own pleasure and learning, but will probably share it with my kids later, too.

Please be aware that there are some heavy and tragic themes presented, such as the possible abuse of Maria by her husband, their separation and eventual divorce, witch hunts and trials, oppression of women, slavery in Surinam, the use of poisonous plants by slave women to either kill themselves out of despair or abort their babies to keep them from being born into the horrible life of many difficult topics.
" said.

"I knew nothing about Maria Merian until I read Marguerite Engle's picture book, Summer Birds. That book became one of my collection to share throughout the year to inspire my students to pursue their passions and find a way to persevere. It is hard for students to understand or even glimpse bits of the adversity that Maria Merian faced until now. Joyce Sidman's masterful presentation of Merian life, challenges and determination is stunning. Maria Merian is a one-of-a-kind woman, scientist, artist and mother. I can only begin to imagine the effort she put forth to accomplish what she did. She did not stay small and quiet when surrounded by the constraints placed on women at the time. She was determined and bold! How wonderful to find her story told for young women and men today! I can't wait to share it! " said.

" A visual delight! Maria Merian’s love of nature, artistic talent and sense of adventure combine to equal an interesting life. " said.

" Me encanta el libro tiene datos súper interesante sobre Merian y su época, es un libro muy inspirador. Lo malo es que no me termina de encantar la organización de los apoyos visuales, en algunos roban protagonismo al texto y en otros sobrecargan la página. " said.

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