Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Summer Birds: The butterflies of Maria Merian

Margarita Engle 2010
pictures by Julie Paschkis

      When I was 11 I wanted to be an entomologist.  I still love bugs to this day!  I'm the go-to person in our family to identify insects (It's not unusual for Chris or the kids to text me a photo of a bug they've found prowling around the house when I wasn't there).

     So I was thrilled to discover this book about a woman naturalist and illustrator who was fascinated by insects too!  I had never heard of her before, so this book was a perfect jumping off point to learn more about Maria Merian.  Born in the 1600's, Maria studied insects in their natural habitat and became known for her scientific observations as well as her beautiful illustrations.

Julie Paschikis does a fair job of invoking a Hieronymus Bosch style of art to go with the fantastical ideas that certain creatures came from mud and were evil.  There's a nice biographical bit about Maria at the end.  She was a remarkable woman and though this picture book is a good introduction, it's definitely worth looking her up and reading more about her!

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