Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Snowflake Bentley

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Illustrated by Mary Azarian
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Published: 1998
ISBN-13: 9780547248295
Personal copy

To be honest, I never thought about snowflake fact, I wasn't sure you could photograph a snowflake. Now I know better!

This intriguing story of a boy who would rather watch snowflakes will charm anyone who reads it. 

Jacqueline Briggs Martin tells Wilson Bentley's story in a concise narrative that starts when he was a young boy until he contracts pneumonia at the age of 66 and dies. She keeps the reader turning the pages in anticipation of how he will be able to share his love of the beauty of snowflakes with the world. He wants everyone to see their "wonderful designs". 

Along with the narrative of his life, Martin includes information on the sides of the pages that provide the reader with facts from Bentley's life. They give that extra information that would take away from the narrative, but that answer those questions the reader may have.
Mary Azarian's illustrations are beautiful. She used woodcut to depict the time period well. The characters are rugged which you would expect from people living during this time. (Wilson Bentley was born in 1865.)

One draw back to the book is the lack of back matter and documentation of the facts provided throughout the story. This would have been helpful to read more about Snowflake Bentley. She does provide a photograph of Bentley along with a quote from him, and several pictures he took of snowflakes.

Snowflake Bentley won the 1999 Caldecott Medal.  

Here are a couple websites that may help you with ideas for the classroom: