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Snowflake Bentley

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  15,607 ratings  ·  1,035 reviews
"Of all the forms of water the tiny six-pointed crystals of ice called snow are incomparably the most beautiful and varied." — Wilson Bentley (1865–1931)

From the time he was a small boy in Vermont, Wilson Bentley saw snowflakes as small miracles. And he determined that one day his camera would capture for others the wonder of the tiny crystal. Bentley's enthusiasm for phot
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 28th 1998 by Houghton Mifflin
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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 ·  15,607 ratings  ·  1,035 reviews

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Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
This 1999 Caldecott Medal winner is a happy byproduct of my Reading Road Trip this year. I was struggling to find a book set in Vermont that would hold my interest, and this illustrated children's book was on all of the “Best Books of Vermont” lists.

Even though I chose Shirley Jackson's Life Among the Savages to represent Vermont, this book was special enough to earn an honorable mention.

The illustrations here, the hand-colored woodcuts by Mary Azarian, are so reminiscent of the more famous ones
This is a little biography of Wilson Bently. He was the first person to photograph snowflakes and understand that each one was different. He loved the snow. I can relate to this person. He loved gathering pictures. His parent spent their savings to buy him a camera and he used it to take photos no one knew they wanted to see. He made little money in his life. He was a fascinating man with his own passion in life. He was dedicated to snow, for sure. I don’t think he ever made the money back he sp ...more
Lisa Vegan
Oct 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: children who love snow, nature, science, photography & those who have unusual interests
Recommended to Lisa by: Kathryn
I really enjoyed this picture book biography for school aged chidren.

I was so reminded of how I was fascinated with snow and snowflakes when I was a kid.

This is a biography of a man who was obsessed with snow from a young age and developed a technique of microphotography so he could capture pictures of individual snowflakes. His interest didn’t lag, even when he was scorned or dismissed for it.

I was emotionally touched by this story. I loved how his parents supported him by buying him the camera
An evocative and yes, magical marriage of text and image, Jaqueline Briggs Martin's Snowflake Bentley presents not only a loving and textually caressing homage to Wilson Bentley and his achievements (primarily the fact that he was able to actually figure out a way to harness and retain the ethereal and generally fleeting beauty of snowflakes, of capturing their intricate and always changing geometrical images with and by photography), it is also a paean to winter, to snow, or perhaps in this era ...more
Sep 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
A facinating story of a very unique person made even better by the artist's wood block prints for the graphics. He spent his whole life absorbed by snowflake shapes and trying to bring them to life for others. ...more
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Winter & Snow Lovers / Anyone Who Appreciates Engaging Picture-Book Biographies
In this lovely picture-book biography of Wilson Bentley, a Vermont farmer who dedicated his life to documenting the beauty and diversity of the snowflake in his photography, author Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrator Mary Azarian have created a textually engaging and visually arresting work. Opening in the mid-19th century, when Bentley was a young boy who loved the snow, the narrative follows him through the years, as his desire to share his passion with others leads him to adopt and adapt ...more
Aug 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
What a great (true!) story about a boy who loved snowflakes--and grew up to share that love with the world! I love his determination to continue with his hobby of analyzing snowflakes--then the passion to persevere (even though so many folks thought he was odd!) and try to photograph them so he could share the beautiful patterns with others. This would make an inspiring read for home schoolers or anyone determined to self-study the topics that he or she loves best.

The illustrations are wood-cut
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love this! What an inspiring tale of a minor obsession. Bentley didn't do anything huge like start a revolution, but because he had supportive parents he did live the life he wanted to, and make a significant contribution to science and to art.

I'm not normally a fan of wood- or lino- cut work, but the illustrations here are a good fit for the story, and sufficiently bright and cheerful for me. The text is gracefully written, and the extra notes on the sides of the pages, are of interest to old
Shaye Miller
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: caldecott
I sure wish we'd had more snow in 2020, but surely this spring will bring a few chilly surprises to the midwest. That said, I still love this picture book biography about Wilson Bentley. It will be my last re-read of 2020. <3

For children's literature, middle grade literature, and YA literature reviews, feel free to visit my personal blog at The Miller Memo!
Kaethe Douglas
2003, January 1

If you're interested in factual picture books, this is a good one. It think it ranks with The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins: An Illuminating History of Mr. Waterhouse Hawkins, Artist and Lecturer among my favorites.

Library copy
Nov 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Ages 5-8
Shelves: juvenilia
Martin, Jacqueline Briggs. Snowflake Bentley, Houghton Mifflin Company, unnumbered pages. Non-fiction, Biography, Caldecott Medal Winner.

Description: This book tells the story of Wilson Bentley, a Vermont man who devoted his life to studying and photographing snow. The book focuses on his techniques and specific interests in snow.

Review: Snowflake Bentley does a great job of making a somewhat mundane topic seem interesting. The rough, woodcut illustrations paired with a straightforward storytell
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Lisa by: British Sue
This was the January selection for the kids' Magic Carpet Readers book club at the lib. We bring the book home and read it together, then they meet at the lib and discuss and do crafts and projects. Headed up by our superwoman librarian, Sue, this is a great reading group for my kids. And since they're juuuuuust shy of being Irish twins, they read at the same level. Perfect!

This selection was our favorite so far. Wilson Bentley was the son of a Vermont farming couple, turn of the century. He was
Nancy Kotkin
A picture book biography about the man who discovered that each snowflake is unique. Wilson Bentley (1865 - 1931) experimented with a camera containing its own microscope, until he could successfully photograph individual snowflakes. During his lifetime he spent $15,000 on his work and received only $4,000 from the sale of his photographs, purchased by artists and many universities. Other scientists raised money so that Bentley could publish a book of his best photographs, which is still today a ...more
Katie Fitzgerald
This picture book biography tells of a scientist so obsessed with snowflakes that he made photographing them his life’s work. Though the book is non-fiction, the text is very readable and approachable, presenting information as a story, rather than a dry litany of facts. Occasional additional details are printed in the snowflake-filled borders of certain pages, but even these are quick, and to the point, making them easy for kids to digest. I was disappointed that a book about a photographer sho ...more
Kathy Roderer
Nov 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
After reading this book, I will never look at a snowflake the same way again! It's the beautiful story of a master of the art and science of the photography of snowflakes. Wilson Bentley's work was considered unimportant and even silly by people at the time, but he persevered. He became an authority on snowflakes and published a collection of his best photographs in a book. Along with the main story, important facts are also given in the sideline margins. Illustrated by colorful woodcuts, this b ...more
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wonderfully presented and told story of the man who was the first to photograph snowflakes and show the world what wonders of nature these tiny ice crystals really are. Definitely an inspiring story!

Humane parents note: At one point the text informs us that Mr. Bentley gently ties a grasshopper to blade of grass overnight so he can photograph the insect speckled in dew the next morning. This no doubt made for an amazing photo, but it seems a little cruel. This very brief passage wouldn't make me
Diana Maria
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I started reading this book after hearing Sarah Mackenzie from Read Aloud Revival Podcast rattling on and off (I love her rattling<3) about it and boy! was I delighted! I read it and re-read it in the course of a few minutes and I was quite overwhelmed by Wilson Bentley's perseverance, his ambition and gentle perception of the natural world (reminiscent of dear Beatrix Potter). I kept searching for his pictures online. Thrilling to see yet again God's wonderful grace around us. We are surrounded ...more
Christina/ The Blog for Teachers, Readers, & Life!
Snowflake Bentley (ages 6-10) by Jacqueline Martin and illustrated by Mary Azarian chronicles the life of Wilson Bentley from Vermont. He became a world famous snow authority and established a technique called microphotography. It has won the prestigious Caldecott Medal Book and ALSC Notable Children’s Books.
See my blog for other winter-themed children's books with curriculum activities for teachers Pr-K-5th grade. https://www.teacher-librarian-forlife...
Robert Davis
Sep 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: caldecott-medal
**** Caldecott Medal (1999) ****

The first man to photograph snow crystals. Interesting in a way, but didn't really showcase the actual crystal pictures enough. Children will be bored.
Images of snowflakes signify winter. They appear in stories about the season and as designs on Christmas decorations; they're printed on fabrics and outlined in craft books, ... they're so pervasive that everyone knows what snowflakes look like, so it's hard to imagine a time when people thought of 'snow,' but not necessarily about individual flakes.

For Bentley, a childhood interest developed into a life-long passion. He wondered and formed questions that he tried to answer. Persistence and pati
I had no idea about Snowflake Bentley! What a cool story!
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great for so many reasons! Here is a boy who had a strong interest and really pursued his passion. Here is a family that maybe didn't 100% understand his fascination with snow and snowflakes yet supported him. Here is a book with wonderful illustrations that gently teaches science concepts (such as observation, forming a hypothesis, experimenting, etc.) in an engaging manner, embedded in a true but very engaging story. Here is a book that shows Bentley's determination as well as his generosity. ...more
Published in 1998. I really enjoyed hearing about someone that I didn't know was my hero. I have always wondered how someone got the snowflakes photographed before they melted. Snowflake Bentley is the guy. His love for snow and nature led him to a life of discovery in his photographs but also with the aid of a microscope hooked up to a camera, something very rare in his day! I loved how they told the actual story side by side with the story. Surprisingly, I thought they harmonized nicely. ...more
Melissa Coyle
A good children's biography of Wilson Bentley who took photographs of snowflakes to educate people of the beauty and individuality of each snowflake. For further reading his book Snow Crystals, I believe, will have his photography. ...more
Jan 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: kids
This is the rather dry, slightly depressing story of a man who took photographs of snowflakes. It got the Caldecott Medal, though, so I guess I don't know nuthin'! ...more
Niki (Daydream Reader)
I am really over winter right now! So it was nice to read this book about a man who loved the beauty of winter and snowflakes! Beautiful story!
Abby Liss
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Snowflake Bentley is a story of William (Willy) Bentley's discovery of photographing snowflakes to share snow crystals beauty in the early 1900's. The informational story begins by describing Willy's love of snow from a young age. Through his great interest and motivation to learn more about snowflakes, Willy was given a specific camera from his partners so that he could photograph the snow falling from the sky. William Bentley's photographs of snow crystals have inspired many scientists and art ...more
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this delightful book! This is a beautiful story about one person who fell in love with the absolute beauty of snowflakes, and found a way to share that beauty with the people around him. The wording is sweet and lyrical, as well as optimistic, and the pictures have an artistic "woodcut" flare.

This is a book teaching kids to happily follow their heart and dreams even when others don't always approve, and a book that shows how giving a gift doesn't necessarily mean handing over an item, b
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Text-to-Teaching Connection:

"Snowflake Bentley" is a great picture book to use while creating a character lesson, or to start off a research project. I would suggest that this particular picture book be used for older children maybe in the third grade.

In regards to creating the character lesson, I think it would be a cute idea to introduce the book when it starts to get cold outside and have the students decorate the classroom with snowflakes. The book discusses the uniqueness and individuality
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing story of perseverance and passion. Detailed illustrations, and informative sidebars.
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