Snowflake Bentley Paperback – Dec 28 2009
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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 the Library Binding edition.
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 the Library Binding edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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 ›
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.
Why 4 stars?:
I found this to be an inspiring story that many, but certainly not all, children were interested in. There are a lot of additional factual notes in the margins. While I found these interesting, many children were not sure what to do with them when reading themselves. These notes are on a much higher reading level and were sometimes too difficult for them. Still, the book is a nice introduction to the genre of biography.
Most recent customer reviews
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. Read morePublished on April 27 2004
...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 morePublished on July 1 2003 by Julie Johnson
The inspiring true story of photographer and self-made scientist Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley proves that anyone can achieve their dream. Read morePublished on Dec 27 2002 by Lynda Preston
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 morePublished on June 2 2002
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 morePublished on Jan. 27 2002
This book made my very active 5 year old put down his new Bionicle leggos and sit with me to look and listen. Read morePublished on Dec 27 2001
Snowflake Bentley is a true story about William Bentley and his love for nature. William particularly loved snowflakes and photographing them. Read morePublished on Nov. 30 2001 by Brooke L.
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