I know, I said I wasn't going to look at any more picture book biographies. But...but...but....it's sooooo pretty!
Told in the first person and in simple, lucid, and brilliant text, Maria Merian explains how she knows that "summer birds," butterflies, moths, and other small creatures, are not the evil things people in the 1600s thought. She describes their metamorphosis and thinks about the future, when she will write books and travel in search of even more small creatures. A historical note explains Merian's important role in medieval science, her discovery of the process of metamorphosis, and her eventual travels.
Paschkis' art is amazing. Maria's determined figure dominates the illustrations, which contrast elaborate and strange medieval beliefs and mythical creatures with gorgeous butterflies and scientific observations. Each step in the process of metamorphosis is delicately illustrated in wild variety against a white background, contrasting with the black and brown backgrounds of the old medieval beliefs. The process culminates in Maria's dream of travel and scientific study, and is full of imaginative stylings of butterflies and other small creatures.
Verdict: This would make an excellent nonfiction read-aloud for kindergarten. With a little help, a beginning reader could also navigate the simple text.
ISBN: 978-0805089370; Published April 2010 by Henry Holt; Borrowed from the library