Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian

Cover art for SUMMER BIRDS 

Author: Margarita Engle
Illustrator:   Julie Paschkis
Publisher:  Henry Holt and Company
Publication Year:   2010
Location: Knox County Public Library- Lawson McGhee

Awards:   Capitol Choices Noteworthy Titles for Children and Teens, Booklist & Kirkus starred reviews

Summary: Told in an engaging first person voice, this is the story of a girl of the Middle Ages who defied conventional wisdom in order to study butterflies. In that time, people believed that they were evil insects born in mud, but Maria did not believe that. She observed caterpillars and realized that they changed into butterflies. She painted what she saw and dreamed of a day where people would understand the life cycles of animals that go through metamorphosis. The folksy gouache paintings perfectly illustrate the world of Merian and the spreads on black backgrounds are especially striking.

Classroom Ideas: classroom study of metamorphosis of caterpillars to butterflies, life cycles, scientists, women pioneers

Extras: a historical note about Maria Merian

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