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Snowflake Bentley [Paperback]

Jacqueline Briggs Martin , Mary Azarian
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 11.99
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Book Description

Dec 28 2009

"Of all the forms of water the tiny six-pointed crystals of ice called snow are incomparably the most beautiful and varied." -- Wilson Bentley (1865-1931)

From the time he was a small boy in Vermont, Wilson Bentley saw snowflakes as small miracles. And he determined that one day his camera would capture for others the wonder of the tiny crystal. Bentley's enthusiasm for photographing snowflakes was often misunderstood in his time, but his patience and determination revealed two important truths: no two snowflakes are alike; and each one is startlingly beautiful. His story is gracefully told and brought to life in lovely woodcuts, giving children insight into a soul who had not only a scientist's vision and perseverance but a clear passion for the wonders of nature. Snowflake Bentley won the 1999 Caldecott Medal.

Frequently Bought Together

Snowflake Bentley + Snowflakes in Photographs + The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter's Wonder
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Product Description

From Amazon

Most children are captivated by snow, but how many go on to make it their lifework? This beautiful biography, winner of the 1999 Caldecott Medal, tells the true story of a Vermont farm boy who was mesmerized by snowflakes. Wilson Bentley was fascinated by the six-sided frozen phenomena, and once he acquired a microscope with a camera, his childhood preoccupation took on a more scientific leaning. Bentley spent his life taking countless exquisite photographs (many that are still used in nature photography today), examining the tiny crystals and their delicate, mathematical structures. Jacqueline Briggs Martin tells this tale with simple, graceful prose that will engage children's imaginations. Edifying and snowflake-scattered sidebars offer more information about Bentley's methods and snowflake science. The artwork of Mary Azarian, whose 19th-century hand-press illustrations decorate the charming Barn Cat, shines once again in Snowflake Bentley, with woodcuts that reveal an appreciation for detail as well as for the man who loved snow. The lovely illustrations and equally fresh text will inspire and comfort youngsters (and grownups too) who wish they could capture snowflakes all year long. (Ages 4 to 8) --Brangien Davis --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Azarian's (A Farmer's Alphabet) handsome woodcuts provide a homespun backdrop to Martin's (Grandmother Bryant's Pocket) brief biography of a farmboy born in 1865 on the Vermont snowbelt who never lost his fascination with snowflakes. Wilson A. Bentley spent 50 years pioneering the scientific study of ice crystals, and developed a technique of microphotography that allowed him to capture the hexagonal shapes and prove that no two snowflakes are alike. Martin conveys Bentley's passion in lyrical language ("snow was as beautiful as butterflies, or apple blossoms"), and punctuates her text with frequent sidebars packed with intriguing tidbits of information (though readers may be confused by the two that explain Bentley's solution of how to photograph the snowflakes). Hand-tinted with watercolors and firmly anchored in the rural 19th century, Azarian's woodcuts evoke an era of sleighs and woodstoves, front porches and barn doors, and their bold black lines provide visual contrast to the delicate snowflakes that float airily in the sidebars. A trio of Bentley's ground-breaking black-and-white photographs of snowflakes, along with a picture and quote from him about his love for his work, is the icing that tops off this attractive volume. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeping a Snowflake Beautiful Nov. 5 2001
When I first glanced at this book, I knew it would be good for several different reasons. The main one being that I love snowflakes. Snowflakes come in many different shapes and sizes and appear many different colors (especially when the sun hits them just right). This book shows just how beautiful a snowflake can be and tells us the importance of who William "Snowflake" Bentley was.
Snowflake Bentley is a biography for young children about the life and times of William Bentley. William was born in Vermont in 1865. As we all know, Vermont gets a lot of snow (sometimes up to 120 inches) and William loved it!! He loved his mother dearly and even picked apple blossoms for her, because he couldn't save the snowflakes to give her. His mother taught him at home until he was fourteen. After being in school for a while, his mother gave him an old microscope, and that is when Williams' passion for snowflakes turned into a scientific invention. He learned how to photograph snowflakes!!
This biographical picture book has several elements that make it a good picture book for young children. These are: the illustrations, the many scientific facts to integrate into a classroom, and the character (William Bentley) was very realistic and inspiring. The illustrations were created with hand colored woodcuts that made beautiful pictures on each page. The pictures are extremely colorful and they make you "feel" winter. This is an excellent book to help explain what a snowflake is and the process of how a snowflake is made. For example, the molecules of water, the quanities of air, moisture, wind,...etc...
My love for snowflakes and their beauty is what led me to read this book. I found out quite a bit about snowflakes and even learned about a man that I had never heard of before.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty, Science, and an Inspiring Example! April 11 2001
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Snowflake Bentley is one of the best biographies I have seen for children because it combines so many elements of a worthwhile children's book so successfully. First, the book deserves its Caldecott Medal for outstanding illustrations from the gorgeous hand-colored woodcuts that provide a wonderful old-fashioned feel. Second, the book also describes the beauty of snowflakes and shows both abstract designs of them as well as some of Mr. Bentley's own photographs. Third, many of the fundamental science facts about snowflakes are described (I learned more about why snowflakes are unique than I had ever known before). Fourth, Mr. Bentley's life is inspirational in several ways. He followed and lived his passion. His parents also supported him in the passion, in a wonderfully loving way. He succeeded in bringing beauty to the world that has changed the way everyone sees it. In doing so, he has lightened the burdens of winter a little for us all.
Mr. Bentley was "a boy who loved snow more than anything else in the world." Where others saw cold and discomfort in his home of Jericho, Vermont, he saw beauty. That was good becaues the snowfall averages around 120 inches a year there. "He said snow was as beautiful as butterflies, or apple blossoms." In the good weather, he could net butterflies or carry apple blossoms to show to others, but snowflakes were more difficult to share. His mother (who was his teacher until he was 14) gave him an old microscope, and he began to look at snowflakes in the cold. He noticed that no two were alike, and began to draw them.
At 17, he learned that you could photograph what you could see in a microscope. His parents made an enormous investment and got him one.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars How do they figure the Caldecott Award? March 23 2003
By Aubrey
Of all the children's books I have borrowed/read, this has to be one of the best bedtime stories. I was yawning by page two, and I wasn't even tired. My daughter was looking around the room & sighing while I read it. Do the Caldecott judges keep children in mind when they award these books?
While I can appreciate the idea of living your dream, no matter the cost, the "tale" itsself was drawn out, boring and choppy. The story could have been told & illustrated with *much* more whimsy, for such an interesting fellow/life. I can imagine what a great book this could have been.
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By "jm_va"
My son (7) thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was his first biography and he was very interested to learn about the farmer-scientist who loved snow. We were lucky enough to attend a Family Day at the National Museum of American History (Wash DC) where the author read the story and told the gathered families about writing, editing and publishing a book. The museum staff then had snowflake & microscope activities for children to enjoy.
My son was so inspired and excited by the story and the day's events that he suggested, when reading the book in mid January, that we throw a "Snowflake Bentley" party. We picked Feb 9th, Wilson Bentley's birthday, and invited all the neighborhood kids over. A couple of parents read the book and then kids either cut out or painted snowflakes. We had a copy of Wilson Bentley's book available so they could see all the different snowflakes he photographed. We ate cake decorated in a snowflake pattern.
It was a great way to share this wonderful book. Many of the kids requested to borrow the book afterwards.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Snowflake Bentley
...I chose Snowflake Bentley for my Caldecott Presentation in Childrens Literature. This book gives children a rich history lesson in a personal and meaningful way. Read more
Published on July 1 2003 by Julie Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars An endearing true story
The inspiring true story of photographer and self-made scientist Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley proves that anyone can achieve their dream. Read more
Published on Dec 27 2002 by Lynda Preston
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring! An adult's idea of a good children's book
I cannot fathom how this book won the Caledecott award. It is excruciatingly boring. Yes, it's very informative, but there is absolutely nothing fun or fanciful about it. Read more
Published on June 2 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars No two are alike....
This is the true story of Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley. He devoted his life to the study of and photography of snowflakes. Read more
Published on May 22 2002 by Jay
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Snowflake Bentley
I really enjoyed reading the story of Snowflake Bentley. Jacqueline Briggs Martin does an excellent job of telling the accomplishments of Willian Bentley in a way that is exciting... Read more
Published on Jan. 27 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspires children to follow their individual interests
This book made my very active 5 year old put down his new Bionicle leggos and sit with me to look and listen. Read more
Published on Dec 27 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Snowflake Bentley
Snowflake Bentley is a true story about William Bentley and his love for nature. William particularly loved snowflakes and photographing them. Read more
Published on Nov. 30 2001 by Brooke L.
5.0 out of 5 stars Snow
Snow in Vermot is as common as dirt. Why would anyone want to photograph it? But from the time he was a little boy, Wilson Bentley thinks of the icy crystals as small miracles, and... Read more
Published on Dec 21 2000 by "oklahomamovies"
5.0 out of 5 stars Exploring Originality
This story is about a dairy farmer in Vermont named Wilson Bentley. Bentley loved snow, and wanted to capture the beauty of snowflakes to share with the world. Read more
Published on July 10 2000 by Claire Lane
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