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

UPDATE TIME: 2018-03-30 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings

" Well told story of Maria Merian who just continued to observe caterpillars, butterflies and the natural world in general her whole life, even though she was a woman and it didn't really make her any money. There are so many phenomenal primary sources included in this book, and the story is better for it. Really engaging and what a role model. " said.

" Only read half and had to return the book (due dates man!)--I'm not the biggest nonfic fan so I won't try to read the rest, but I did really appreciate that this was about a woman involved in science and art at a time that was unacceptable in society and I would definitely reference it for RA. Great addition to a STEM collection and has starred reviews for review journals. " said.

" What a lovely book. I reviewed this for The Mock Caldecott awards for 2018. One of the things I love about doing these reviews is learning about people and things I've never known about before and Maria Merian is one of those people. This is a fairly comprehensive biography with many recreations of her beautiful drawings. This would be a wonderful introductory book for a young person that has any interest in bugs, butterflies and cocoons, as well as other flora and fauna. " said.

"What a lovely book about a person I had never heard of before now! Sidman details the life of one of the first natural scientists of the 17th century, who just happened to also be an amazing artist and a woman. Each chapter is cyclical like the life cycles of the insects that Merian studied and includes insets about the cultures and beliefs of the time period. Merian was simply brilliant and talented, and several of her theories preceded the more famous men known for them, like Darwin and Linneas.

Probably one of the best things about this book is the inclusion of Merian's fantastic illustrations throughout. The details, colors and layouts are outstanding. Now I want to find copies of her books and see the original illustrations as they were published. Makes me want to be a scientist again.
" said.

"This is Joyce Sidman's loving homage to the life work of Maria Merian (1647-1730), who investigated and documented the life stages of various insects and amphibians. At a time when women were prohibited from being educated, producing art, and doing scientific research, Merian's insatiable curiosity made her forge ahead, defying the culture by packaging her explorations in beautiful engravings of flora. Her studies took her from Germany and the Netherlands to Suriname, a Dutch colony in South America.
This significant volume for children (5th-8th grades) is thoughtfully compiled with layers of information blooming on each page. There is the concise, inspiring story of her life, historic notes of the time and culture, quotes from Merian's notebooks and pictures of her illustrations, as well as engravings, maps, and paintings from her step-father, husband and contemporaries. Sidman introduces each chapter with her own poetry and corresponding photos. The book concludes with a timeline and biography, along with a precious tribute to her inspiration for writing the book.
The only drawback is that this is marketed to children, and therefore will miss the adult reader who would be edified and delighted by this important document of an intelligent, courageous woman.
" said.

" 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.

"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.
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June 2018 New Book:

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