Academic journal article Language Arts

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian's Art Changed Science

Academic journal article Language Arts

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian's Art Changed Science

Article excerpt

The Girl Who Drew Butterflies: How Maria Merian's Art Changed Science Written and photographed by Joyce Sidman Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018, 160 pp., ISBN 978-0-544-71713-8

How did a 13-year-old girl's curiosity and careful study of nature change the world? At a time when women and girls were the unsung heroes of seventeenth century Europe, Maria Sibylla Merian became an artist and scientist who uncovered the metamorphosis of the butterfly, making her the world's first ecologist. Before Linnaeus, Audubon, and Darwin made their scientific marks on the world, there was a young girl who asked questions about the mysterious insects before her and who deftly drew the life cycles she witnessed. Sidman's masterful biography of Merian's life begins with an inviting narrative about a girl in a garden, digging in the dirt and inspecting the creatures that ride on flower petals. …

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