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Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  268 ratings  ·  86 reviews
Nature’s repeating patterns, better known as fractals, are beautiful, universal, and explain much about how things grow. Fractals can also be quantified mathematically. Here is an elegant introduction to fractals through examples that can be seen in parks, rivers, and our very own backyards. Readers will be fascinated to learn that broccoli florets are fractals—just like m ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Boyds Mills Press

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David Molnar
Sep 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juv-math
I had high expectations for this after reading Growing Patterns by the same author, and I was not disappointed. (Incidentally, someone at goodreads ought to recognize that Sarah C. Campbell and Sarah C Campbell could conceivably be the same person.) The primary purpose of this book is to introduce young readers to the concept of fractals, stressing the distinction between man-made shapes (cylinder, sphere) and nature-made shapes. It does this well. Pineapples and caterpillars make gratuitous app ...more
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fractals were first studied in 1975 by Benoit Mandelbrot. They are shapes we find in nature. They are different from one another, but all have in common the fact of having small parts that look like the whole part. They are self-similar.
We can find them everywhere from tiny leaves veins to massive mountains ranges. We find them even in a lightning and inside our body.
Knowing about fractals helped us to study things that are to small, to big or too complex to study. Fractals help to find order i
Mar 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book explains what fractals are very simply. It shows what they are comprised of (familiar shapes, like cones and spheres,) and gives examples from our every day lives. As the book goes on it shows how these shapes repeating over and over each time smaller, can be found in nature. It uses architecture, flowers, geology, the human body, and more to illustrate the lesson. Campbell is sure to teach us about repeating patterns that do not change in size, and that these are not fractals. She als ...more
Jun 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very cool photographs and a simplified explanation of fractals, along with many examples, make this book an accessible must-have for the classroom library. It's pretty amazing to realize that there was no word for these shapes found in nature until 1975. Once youngsters start exploring the world of fractals, it will be difficult to contain their enthusiasm because of their incredible patterns. I also liked the inclusion of a brief note about Benoit Mandelbrot, the father of fractals. Naturally, ...more
Mar 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
For me this is a three star book, but that is strictly due to my bias against math and science. I know! I just need to get over it already. I do, however, see that the text is easy to understand and would be a fascinating read for many kids who gravitate toward non-fiction, science-y type books.
Edward Sullivan
Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great concept book, clear and concise with excellent visual examples.
Annie Cheesman
Sep 13, 2018 rated it liked it
I really like the cover of this book because it is really intriguing to look at. Both the cover and back cover are the same image which really entails the importance of the patterns. I really enjoy how the book outlines patterns in everyday life objects and things than just showing pictures of random patterns. I think the readers will enjoy seeing objects that people have made at the beginning of the book then it transitions into places where patterns occur in the world, which I believe in incre ...more
Virginia McGee Butler
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
To be honest, I had observed the phenomenon but didn’t know the word “fractal” until I read Sarah Campbell’s picture book, Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature (2014). Sarah explains that the term did not exist until 1975. In the author’s note at the end, she adds an intriguing story of Benoit Mandelbrot, the overlooked scientist who studied and named them.
A fractal shape has smaller parts that look like the whole. Trees form a good example in their shapes against the sky. Smaller ve
Jeni VW
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a succinct and approachable introduction to fractals for elementary school and above. Without going into the intricacies of mathematical equations, the photographs and text show that fractals are backed by "beautiful math" and discernible in nature and human biology as well as in various technological grids and, even (in the afterword), the underlying structure of Harry Potter's invisibility cloak. The concept of Mandelbrot fractals is presented in a way that's easy to grasp, and there a ...more
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is super cool. It shows real life pictures of objects that are shapes. For example, is says that tomatoes are like spheres, cucumbers are like cylinders, and icicles are like cones. It shows the reader to use real life objects to relate to shapes. I would definitely use this book in my future classrooms. I think students would enjoy it. I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars. It is very helpful.
Melissa Brosius
Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature is a non-fiction math informational book about the shapes and patterns that occur in nature. It explains how scientists wanted to classify natural objects but couldn’t easily do so until Benoit Mandelbrot’s discovery of fractals. This book features photographs of shapes and fractals, a glossary of vocabulary words, a biography of Mandelbrot, and a “make your own fractal” activity.
Camille Rickis
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This nonfiction book about fractals is extremely interesting. The illustrations are a mixture of drawings and photographs, both life size and extremely zoomed in, and they are so interesting to look at. Many people do not know much about fractals, but after reading this informative but also interesting and attention-grabbing picture book, reader will find themselves wanting to learn more, and also looking for fractals all around them.
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
This describes what a fractal is and gives examples of fractals in nature. There are lovely photographs of fractals. In the afterword, it gives information about Benoit Mandelbrot who discovered fractals. The afterword also describes a few practical applications that use fractals.
Lynn  Davidson
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Benoit Mandelbroit thought in shapes, and when he became a scientist he discovered patterns in the things he studied. This book shows the amazing fractal patterns in our world. Beautiful illustrations.
Cameron Walker
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved the book, it shows real pictures that can be found. It also relates to math and geometric figures. Kids can see these and then look for them in nature.
A fun, photo-filled introduction to fractals in nature! I read this book with my 9.5 and 6 year olds who both enjoyed it as well.
Luke Azzarelli
Mar 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
**Spoiler Alert**

Mysterious Patterns is about the different shapes that surround us in the real world. Fractals shapes are looked at closely and are natural repeating patterns. In other words, they have smaller parts inside the whole shape that look like that whole shape. The book gives an example of how a tree has a trunk with two large branches, then more branches come off the original two branches, and it keep continuing until the last one. They can also be found in nature. Throughout this bo
Jacquelynn Ruot
Mar 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Mysterious Patterns was about the shapes that we see in our everyday lives. It showed examples of most of the common shapes like spheres, cubes, and cones. There was a few more as well. After explaining those, then they introduced what they called a fractural. A fractural is a shape that starts with a few straight lines and then continues to grow off of that in the same pattern. One example they showed was a tree. It started with the trunk, then the branches, then sticks and twigs. The story con ...more
Emily Lanz
Mar 21, 2016 rated it liked it

Mysterious Patterns is a book based on science and explaining how to classify natural shapes in the world. Natural shapes that do not classify as an existing perfect shape are called fractals. Every fractal has smaller parts that look like the whole part. The book then goes onto give many examples of fractals that we see in nature and in our everyday lives. The autho concludes by explain how scientists can look at fractals to see how nature develops and changes over time.

I rate
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"Every fractal shape has smaller parts that look like the whole shape."

Natural shapes are categorized as fractals because they are not "perfect shapes." "All fractals have parts that repeat at different sizes." Patterns are not fractals unless they repeat at different sizes.

Fractals: "an idea that helps us see the world in a whole new way."

Such an interesting topic, explained in easy terms that students can understand. Photographs help to illustrate the points in the text. There is a brief bio o
Tina Sample
Jun 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
1. I paired this book with "Monster Knows Patterns" by Lori Capote (2013).

2.) I chose these books because patterns are reassuring for children and it's fun to see how excited they get when they find patterns, or make them, on their own. The fiction pairing is a lot of fun with the cartoon drawings and monsters that are included. The non fiction has beautiful photographs that she children nature offers patterns in a lot of things that they encounter everyday.

3.) The text structure of this book
Stacey Burnett
Mar 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: kid-lit
Mysterious patterns finding fractals was an interesting book to read. It first starts out explaining different shapes that we see in the world everyday. Then it explains fractals and what they are and then give several examples of how we see them in everyday life. Finally it gives you instructions on how to make your own fractal and see what it looks like. This will be a great educational and informational book for young children that may struggle with math. Illustrations are mostly pictures of ...more
Kaitlyn Norris
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Mysterious Patterns is a very cool science-themed book that puts a fascinating scientific concept into language that young readers can understand. It begins by explaining the concept of shapes, both those in man-made structures and in nature. Then it moves on to explain the concept of fractals, or shapes made up of smaller parts that look like the whole shape, which are found in nature. The book shows many examples that children can understand from their everyday experience, from tree branches t ...more
Barbara Ayes
Jul 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals In Nature
By Sarah C. Campbell, Photographs by Richard P. Campbell

Fractals are nature's repeating patterns. They were discovered by mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot in 1975 who had been studying these universal patterns. They explain how things grow. This beautifully illustrated book introduces fractals with examples that are found around us: rivers, parks, vegetables like broccoli and even in our own backyards. A perfect summer read, this book invites those i
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book does a good job of showing how patterns known as fractals are found in everyday life from mountains to lungs. I also liked how the author included non-examples as well. The non-examples helped solidify the readers' understanding of what a fractal is. I also liked how the author made the book feel a little more like a story and not just a nonfiction book.

With students I would read this as a supplement to teaching about geography since there is a focus on mountains. I would have student
Breanna Ninmer
Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-lit
Mysterious Patterns talks about the common shapes we see every day, then goes on to talk about shapes that aren't as perfect. They are called "fractals". Fractals are a shape that changes in the same way over and over again. An example that is given is a tree. It starts with one line and keeps building off of that. It gives many more examples such as lightning, broccoli, and even our lungs. After reading this book you now have a name for the more uncommon shapes.

I liked this book, I thought it w
Chelsea Davis
May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
To begin with, I loved that the author included a glossary at the beginning of her book, and at the end she included a how to make your own fractal. The book opens up the readers eyes to see and understand how everything around them is very unique and beautiful. I probably learned about fractals when I was a child, but wouldn't have known how to recognize them before reading this book.
The illustrations were simple, but perfect for the book. There were mostly photographs showing the beauty of th
It is hard to believe that there wasn’t a name for the organic geometric shapes in nature until the mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot named them fractals in 1975. An unusual topic for a children's book, Mysterious Patterns gives a straightforward illustrated introduction to fractals. From broccoli to mountain ranges to lightning, the patterns in nature are clearly demonstrated making the concept easy to understand. Although I would like a resource list (I know resources accessible for young reader ...more
NYC Reads 365
"From an early age, we start learning about shapes: circles, rectangles, triangles, and more. But have you ever heard of a shape called a "fractal"? Fractals are a shape found everywhere in nature, but there wasn't even a name for them until 1975, when a pioneering scientist named Benoit Mandelbrot started to study them. This photographic picture book gives many examples of fractals you encounter in everyday life, and explains how they are formed. A short, informative afterword touches on how un ...more
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