In the Middle Ages, people believed that insects were evil, born from mud in a process called spontaneous generation. Maria Merian was only a child, but she disagreed. She watched carefully as caterpillars spun themselves cocoons, which opened to reveal summer birds, or butterflies and moths. Maria studied the whole life cycle of the summer birds, and documented what she learned in vibrant paintings.
This is the story of one young girl who took the time to observe and learn, and in so doing disproved a theory that went all the way back to ancient Greece.
About the Author
Margarita Engle is a Cuban American poet, novelist, and journalist whose work has been published in many countries. She is the author of young adult nonfiction books and novels in verse including The Surrender Tree, a Newbery Honor Book, The Poet Slave of Cuba, Hurricane Dancers, The Firefly Letters, and Tropical Secrets. She lives in northern California.
Julie Paschkis is a painter and award-winning illustrator of many books for children, including Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People, Building on Nature: The Life of Antoni Gaudi, and Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal: A Worldwide Cinderella. A love of pattern and of folk art shows in all her work. She lives in Seattle, Washington.
“Top-notch writing and absolutely stunning illustrations tell [Merian's] inspirational story. A historical note at the end adds detail about Maria's life. Just right for budding scientists. Grade: A” —Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Bolstered by flat but elegantly rendered paintings, the award-winning Engle illuminates the life of an early female scientist. It all makes for pleasant reading and stirring stuff.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“In expertly pared-down language, the poetic lines deftly fold in basic science concepts about life cycles, along with biographical details that are further developed in an appended historical note. Paschkis' brilliantly colored and patterned paintings are an exuberant counterpoint to the minimal words. …Joyous and inspiring, this beautiful introduction to a passionate young scientist ho defied grown-ups and changed history will spark children's own fascination with the natural world and its everyday dramas.” —Booklist, Starred Review
“The illustrator's rich, gouache folk-style paintings, sometimes on a solid black background, share that joy in the natural world and with gentle fancy bring this little-known artist and entomologist to life.” —Kirkus, Starred Review