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Snowflake Bentley Paperback – Dec 28 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (Dec 28 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547248296
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547248295
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 0.4 x 25.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 91 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,615 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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 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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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on April 11 2001
Format: Hardcover
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.
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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
This is the true story of Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley. He devoted his life to the study of and photography of snowflakes. His Vermont neighbors in the late-1800s thought he must be crazy to try to take pictures of what was all around them anyway. Still he persevered and spent his family's entire savings on a specialized camera. Over time, he be-came the world's most0recognized authority on snowflakes. His photographs became parts of many university collections. This book is inspiring for children to follow their dreams. As well, it presents a lot of factual information. The illustrations are decent and complement the story adequately. They are picturesque and scenic, though human characteristics tend to be exaggerated.
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.
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