Reviews for Snowflake Bentley


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 October 1998
/*Starred Review*/ Ages 5^-8. From the time he was a little boy, Wilson Bentley loved snow. Yet snow was frustrating to him. He could pick flowers for his mother or net butterflies, but he couldn't hold on to snowflakes. First, Bentley tried drawing snow crystals, but they would melt too quickly. Then, as a teenager in the 1870s, he read about a camera with a microscope. His family were Vermont farming folk, but they scraped together the money to buy him the camera. From then on, there was no stopping Bentley, who was nicknamed Snowflake. He spent winters photographing the intricate flakes. At first no one cared ("Snow in Vermont is as common as dirt"); but Bentley found fame as a nature photographer, and even today his photo book of snowflakes is considered a primary source. Martin has chosen her subject well; Bentley's determined life will have innate inspiration for children. Just as important, all parts of the book work together beautifully. The text is crisp and engaging, using word imagery to good advantage: "[his new camera] was taller than a newborn calf and cost as much as father's herd of ten cows." Azarian's woodcuts are strong and sure, just like Bentley himself, and also, like him, show a love of nuance and detail. The book's design allows for snowflake-touched sidebars that offer more specific details about camera technique or Bentley's experiments with snow. There will be so many uses for this book--not the least of which is simply handing it to children and letting their imaginations soar like Bentley's ((Reviewed October 1, 1998)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 1999
A warm period look at a cold subject--snow--and one self-made scientist, Wilson A. Bentley, the man who discovered, among other things, the fact that no two snowflakes are alike. Bentley's dedication to his research is clearly evident, and the ridicule to which he was sometimes subjected is appropriately down-played for a young audience. The book exhibits a beautiful blend of Azarian's splendid woodcuts, a lyrical text, and factual sidebars. Copyright 1999 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 1998 #5
A warm period look at a cold subject-snow-and one self-made scien-tist, Wilson A. Bentley, affectionately known as Snowflake. Bentley made an appearance in Johanna Hurwitz's recent novel Faraway Summer (rev. 7/98); Martin's book more completely gives a portrait of the man who discovered, among other things, the fact that no two snowflakes are alike (something that the book design sometimes contradicts). The book exhibits a beautiful blend of Azarian's splendid woodcuts, a lyrical text, and factual sidebars. Bentley's dedication to his research is clearly evident, and the ridicule to which he was sometimes subjected is appropriately down-played for a young audience. The illustrations, tinted with watercolors, depict the people, homes, meadows, and woods of turn-of-the-century Vermont countryside in accurate detail. Sources for the factual material are credited, and a final page features photo-graphs of Bentley at work and three of his actual snowflake slides. e.s.w. Copyright 1999 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 1998 July #2
Wilson Bentley (1865 1931) was fascinated by snow, in childhood and adulthood, and, practically speaking, is the one who ``discovered'' snow crystals, by photographing them in all their variation. As a youngster, he was so taken with these little six-sided ice crystals that his parents scraped together their savings to buy him a camera with a microscope. From then on, despite his neighbors' amusement, he took hundreds of portraits of snowflakes. As an adult, he gave slide shows of his work, and when he was 66, a book was published of his photos a book that is still in use today. Martin chronicles Bentley's life and his obsession in a main, poetic text, but provides additional facts in careful, snowflake-strewn sidebars. The deep blue snow shadows and fuzzy glow of falling flakes in Azarian's skillfully carved, hand-tinted woodcuts recreate the cold winter wonderland of ``Snowflake'' Bentley's Vermont. This is a lyrical biographical tribute to a farmer, whose love of snow and careful camera work expanded both natural science and photography. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-9) Copyright 1998 Reviews

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Library Talk Reviews 1999 May
This is the story of a determined young man, Wilson Bentley, and his life in Vermont where snow is a common sight. From his earliest childhood days, he loved snow, snowstorms, and watching the snowflakes fall. There are many other things that Wilson could do, such as catching butterflies and picking apple blossoms. He could show these to his friends. However, snow crystals melted before Wilson could show them to anyone. Wilson experimented with photography in an effort to capture the snow crystals so that everyone might enjoy them. Others did not seem to be interested. But did Wilson give up? No! He kept right on photographing the snowflakes. Artists and designers have been inspired by his work. Bentley is known today for his work with snow crystals and the development of microphotography. Azarian's detailed but simple woodcut illustrations give readers a clear picture of what life was like during Wilson's day. An interesting biography that will be a welcome addition to weather units or in units dealing with scientists or character traits. Appropriate as a read-aloud for the primary grades and as an easier-to-read biography for intermediate grade readers. Highly Recommended. Sue N. Howard, Library Media Specialist, Locke Elementary, Memphis, Tennessee © 1999 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1998 August #4
Azarian's (A Farmer's Alphabet) handsome woodcuts provide a homespun backdrop to Martin's (Grandmother Bryant's Pocket) brief biography of a farmboy born in 1865 on the Vermont snowbelt who never lost his fascination with snowflakes. Wilson A. Bentley spent 50 years pioneering the scientific study of ice crystals, and developed a technique of microphotography that allowed him to capture the hexagonal shapes and prove that no two snowflakes are alike. Martin conveys Bentley's passion in lyrical language ("snow was as beautiful as butterflies, or apple blossoms"), and punctuates her text with frequent sidebars packed with intriguing tidbits of information (though readers may be confused by the two that explain Bentley's solution of how to photograph the snowflakes). Hand-tinted with watercolors and firmly anchored in the rural 19th century, Azarian's woodcuts evoke an era of sleighs and woodstoves, front porches and barn doors, and their bold black lines provide visual contrast to the delicate snowflakes that float airily in the sidebars. A trio of Bentley's ground-breaking black-and-white photographs of snowflakes, along with a picture and quote from him about his love for his work, is the icing that tops off this attractive volume. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 1998 Publishers Weekly Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 1998 September
K-Gr 3-This picture-book biography beautifully captures the essence of the life and passion of Wilson A. Bentley (1865-1931), known to many as "The Snowflake Man." A plaque in his hometown honors the work of this simple farmer who labored for 50 years to develop a technique of microphotography in an attempt to capture "...the grandeur and mystery of the snowflake." The story of this self-taught scientist begins with his early interest in the beauty of snow and his determination to find a way of sharing that beauty with others. At 16, his parents spent their life's savings on a special camera with its own microscope so he could make a permanent record of individual snowflakes. After two years of work, he perfected a technique for making acceptable pictures. He spent the rest of his life photographing ice crystals and sharing them with neighbors and interested scientists and artists around the world. Azarian's woodblock illustrations, hand tinted with watercolors, blend perfectly with the text and recall the rural Vermont of Bentley's time. The inclusion of a photograph of the scientist at work and three of his remarkable photographs adds authenticity. Two articles about his work, one written by Bentley himself, are listed on the CIP page. The story of this man's life is written with graceful simplicity. Sidebars decorated with snowflakes on every page add facts for those who want more details. An inspiring selection.-Virginia Golodetz, Children's Literature New England, Burlington, VT Copyright 1998 School Library Journal Reviews

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