Week 2 Snowflake Bentley














Title & Author: Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Summary: Curious about the natural world, WilsonBentley grew up in Vermont, where he was surrounded by snow much of the year. He collected and documented snow crystals, eventually pioneering the art of photographing them.  His 1926 book Snow Crystals is still seen as a definitive work on the subject.
Reference: Martin, J. B. (1998). Snowflake Bentley.  New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin.
My Impressions: I had never heard of this Caldecott Medal winner prior to reading it for this class. I was drawn to it because I love history, and I was especially impressed with the motivation and determination Snowflake Bentley had.  The dual format of narrative story and historical fact gives the reader both enjoyment and information.  The archival pictures of Bentley's work and quotation from him at the back of the book make this inforaational text meaningful and engaging enough to encourage further study on the subject of snow crystals.
Professional Review: "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."
Snowflake Bentley. (1998, August 1).  [Review of the book Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin]. Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 1998. Retrieved from http://www.kirkusreviews.com/
Library Uses: This book could easily be used by a school librarian in outreach to a middle or high school photography class, in a discussion about the history of photography and of early techniques of photographers.  Students could employ modern photography techniques to try to replicate Bentley's seminole work.



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