Monday, March 26, 2018

Review: Maria Sibylla Merian: Artist, Scientist, Adventurer

Maria Sibylla Merian: Artist, Scientist, Adventurer Maria Sibylla Merian: Artist, Scientist, Adventurer by Sarah B. Pomeroy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Maria Sibylla Merian was a 17th Century German entomologist and artist who had profound effects on the idea of studying insects directly, or in situ, including through their metamorphoses. The daughter and stepdaughter of artists in Frankfurt, Merian took an interest in insects from an early age, studying them and breeding silkworms at as early an age as thirteen. She is considered by modern naturalist Sir David Attenborough to be one of the most important researchers in the field of entomology. Many insects and spiders have been named after her, in honor of her contribution to the field.

This book, which appears to target middle-grade students, offers many examples of Merian's exquisite drawings from nature and biographical information about her rather amazing life, which included traveling with her daughter to Dutch Suriname in the late 1700's in order to study New World insects and spiders. This looks to be a good platform for encouraging interest in budding entomologists, as it touches on the actual scientific exploration process that Merian, unlike many in her day, espoused. (Some of the other artists' contrasting images offered were perhaps less than convincing, however.)

This is a slim volume at 98 pages in the review galley but appears to be a worthwhile addition to any middle grade or high school library.

I received a Digital Review Copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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