Snowflake Bentley

by Wilson Bentley

Other authorsJacqueline Briggs Martin (Author)
Hardcover, 1998


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Call number

J 92 BE


Houghton Mifflin (1998), Edition: First Edition, 32 pages


A biography of a self-taught scientist who photographed thousands of individual snowflakes in order to study their unique formations.

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User reviews

LibraryThing member lisabankey
This book is the story of Wison Bentley who loved snow even when he was a child. He was fascinated by the crystal-like form of each snowflake. He developed a way to photograph individual snowflakes. His photographs were appreciated as art and also by the scientific community.

The sides of each page
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contain real facts of the the process and of Wilson Bentley. The illustrations of the story are in the style of colored woodblock printing.
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LibraryThing member gena93
This is a true story about a man named Wilson Bentley a.k.a. Snowflake Bentley. He was fasinated with snow. Every snow storm at first he tried to draw snowflakes, but failed to do so because by the time he could finish the snowflake would melt. Then he came up with an idea to take a pictue of them,
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but the same problem happened until he came across an amazing camera. His parents bought him this camera with their life savings so their son can live out his dream.

Winter is my favorite season so this book is right up my alley. My family and I make it a point to go out when it snows and explore. We catch snowflakes on our gloves and show each other the different shapes.

In our winter unit we could read this book aloud and talk about how snowflakes form and how different each one is. We then could draw snowflakes on black construction paper with white chalk, or even make snowflakes by cutting white paper with our scissors.
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LibraryThing member eecnelsen
This is a true story. As a boy Willie Bentley loved flowers, butterflies and especially snow. He was facinated with the intricate patterns of snowflakes he took pictures of them and found that each is unique. He was well known for his published pictures. I really enjoy the pictures in this book and
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on the side there are facts about his life. Great Read!!
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LibraryThing member ENeal
Snowflake Bentley is a book by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrated by Mary Azarian. This is a biography book and is also a Caldecott Medal winner. Wilson Bentley loves the snow and loves to take pictures of snowflakes. His mother gave him a microscope so he could look closely at all the things
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in the world. He really loved to look at snowflakes. He wanted to be able to save the image of the snowflakes so he tried to draw them. Unfortunately, the snowflakes would all melt before he could finish. At age seventeen, his parents bought him a microscope camera. Many colleges bought some of his slides and put them in their collections. I will let you read the ending. I don’t want to ruin it.

This was a good book. It was not my favorite but it was good. I love snowflakes and I think that it is neat that Mr. Bentley captured the beauty of them.

Biographies are a great addition to any classroom when studying history. The theme of the book is about snow and the beauty of it. I think it would be a good book to use in the winter months.
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LibraryThing member BetsySanford
Beautifully written and illustrated biography of the man who took the first microscopic photos of snowflakes.
LibraryThing member emilee
This book is a good book to read to children to get the excited about nature, and art.
LibraryThing member jesseann81
This is a story about a man named Wilson Bentley. He was born on a farm in Jericho Vermont in 1865. He dedicated his whole life studying and photographing snowflakes. He was so interested in the snowflakes but he could not study them close enough because they always melted too soon. So he talked
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his parents in to saving up enough money to buy him a camera with a microscope in it. He made so many photographs for the town. One year he made over 100 photographs during a two day snow storm. When he was sixty-six years old, he published a book but still was not ready to quit.He had spent $15,000 on making the photographs and had only earned 4,000. He was so passionate about photographing the snow that two months later he walked six miles home in a snow blizzard to take more pictures. He becamer ill with pneumonia and died two weeks later. Everyone could now enjoy and understand the snow more because of Bentleys information.

This is an imformative biography that i enjoyed reading myself, but i dont know that younger children would enjoy it much.

If I were to read this book to my class, I would then make them write an autobiography about themselves so that they could understand the idea of facts about people's lives.
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LibraryThing member RobertaRogers
This story is about a man named Snowflake Bentley. When he was a boy he only attened school for a few years. He became obssed with snowflakes. He gets a microscope and studies them, then he talks his dad into getting him a camera so he could take pictures of them so everybody could enjoy the sight
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of the them. He takes pictures of every season as well. When he becomes older he gets a book published with all of his pictures.

I liked the ways this story was informational but it was still told in a story format, not just a book full of facts.

I would have this story in my classroom library. You could use this story with a winter unit and have the students decorate snowflakes and make a little book.
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LibraryThing member bestwhensimple
Jacqueline Briggs Martin succeeds in telling a beautiful story about a nineteenth century man who loves snow. Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley spent his entire life trying to capture the most perfect snowflake despite the financial costs and disparaging remarks he received from outsiders. This book shows
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that we can (and should) follow our dreams.

The book won the Caldecott Medal for Mary Azarian's wonderful woodcuts hand-colored with bright watercolors. These woodcuts add to the rustic feeling of the book. Snowflake Bentley was a common man with a wonderful dream. We can aspire to do great things like he did, too!

In terms of the structure of the book, there are usually two columns on a page, one large center column where Briggs Martin narrates the story of Snowflake Bentley, and one smaller side column which provides specific biographical data about Snowflake Bentley that aren't mentioned in the narrative. I really like the story book quality of this non-fiction book. I think that it would appeal to children who are interested in science but do not want a textbook-style explanation. I also highly recommend it to readers who would like to read a success story about a man who followed his dreams.
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LibraryThing member mrs_rgutierrez
There was a little boy named Willie who loved the snow so much that he wanted to capture the snowflakes and share it with others. Of course, the snowflakes would melt so he decided to take pictures of the snowflakes. He grew up taking pictures of snowflakes and even wrote a book of snowflakes. He
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died continuing his journey of snowflakes.

I liked the pictures. I did not like that there was a column on the side of several pages of the story. It required more reading and it read the same thing as the story.

I will have the children learn about snowflakes. They will get to draw their own snowflakes. We will also cut out snowflakes from construction paper and hang across the classroom wall.
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LibraryThing member ShortyK
I liked the details of this book. The fact that it kind of had side bars with extra information was different but fun. The pictures lent a classic feel to the story I thought.
LibraryThing member riannarash
This book is about a little boy who was fascinated with snowflakes. Everyone around him thought it was so silly and time wasting to spend the time he spent studying the shapes of snowflakes. While other children were outside playing, he was inside studying about snowflakes; while other children
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were asking for new bats for baseball, he was asking for a new camera for his snowflakes. The boy’s fascination followed him throughout life. He was determined to have everyone see the beauty and differences among snowflakes like him. Eventually, he ended up selling his photographs to universities and valued citizens.
I enjoyed this particular biography because it was well created and thought about. It targeted a large audience. It was interesting and filled with facts although, it was colorful and had an easy storyline to follow. Out to the side of the colorful pictures and stories their were fascinating facts. This was an enjoyable biography for young children.
In the classroom, we could make our own snowflakes demonstrating that no snowflake is exactly the same, as the boy always said.
In the classroom, we could experiment with how fast a snowflake would last. This was the initial problem for the boy when he first starting observing.
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LibraryThing member KellyBryan
I think it is a great topic of interest especially with the winter months coming. Children love playing in the snow and are intrigued by snowflakes. This book can even be turned into an activity. Each child can make their own snowflake or the kids can be taken outside to catch snowflakes and
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compare them. I love the illustrations in this book. The images are smooth and capture the story of Bently perfectly.
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LibraryThing member dianaking
Snowflake Bentley is about an individual who loves snowflakes. Growing up in Vermont, Bentley looks forward to winter seasons. Bentley is eventually given a camera. He becomes successful in taking pictures of snowflakes, but he doesn’t do it to become rich instead to show others the beauty.

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enjoyed this story because it introduces children to the beauty of nature. The story takes place in the 1860’s which also informs the reader of the type of instrument that had to be used to catch the frozen ice.

In the classroom, I could have the students pick a product or item that has changed since the 1800’s until now, the present. I could also have the students write that didn’t exist in the 1850’s and what alternatives did they make or did they do without?
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LibraryThing member clapkj01
I really enjoyed this biography. It’s about a man named Willie Bentley. He grew up in Vermont and absolutely loved the snow. Day after day he studied the ice crystals. He was in awe of their intricate patterns His mother gave him an old microscope so that he could sketch each flake; they always
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melted before he could finish. He then decided that he wanted a camera with its own microscope. His parents used all their savings a got him one. Willie worked really hard to get a good picture and once he did he was ecstatic. He began to give away and sell copies of his snowflakes and projected his slides to his friends. Willie then published a book called Snow Crystals and became known as “The Snowflake Man”. Less than a month after Willie walked six miles home in a blizzard and became ill with pneumonia. He died two weeks later.
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LibraryThing member barefootTL
ELIB 530A – LibraryThing Part B – Picture Book 8
This Caldecott Honor book tells the story of the famous snowflake photographer of the late 19th century, Wilson Bentley. The text more than adequately tells about his ambition to share his passionate love of snow, and his tenacity in the pursuit
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of capturing the beauty of single snowflakes. The pairing of Mary Azarian’s watercolor tinted woodcuts with the story is very effective in invoking a past era and place’s beauty and simpler pace. This book succeeds in showing how one person’s simple passion and work can benefit so many. I am fond of Mary Azarian’s work and I read another book she illustrated (A Farmer’s Alphabet) to my children when they were young. They were nearly grown when this book came out so reading it now for the first time brought back good feelings as I viewed the artwork. The story is inspiring as well. The author provides additional biographical notes in the sidebars of some of the 2-page spreads that add insight into this remarkable man’s story.
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LibraryThing member elizabethwallmacht
Subjects/Content Studies/AASL Standards:
Biography, Vermont in the mid 1800's to mid 1900s, Snow, Science, Discovery, Photography.

4.1.2 Read widely and fluently to make connections with self, the world, and previous reading.
LibraryThing member StephanieWA
This is a touching story of the dedication and perseverance of a farmer-scientist which illustrates for children the immense patience and time it takes sometimes to do research. Martin's story, however also conveys the passion and conviction of this dedicated scientist and the reader can't help but
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share in it. Azarian's woodcut and watercolour illustrations complement the story beautifully as do the snowflake borders.
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LibraryThing member megjwal
Snowflake Bentley

This Caldecott winner is a story about a man named Willie Bentley. He grew up in Vermont. He loved the snow and loved to look at snowflakes through a microscope his mother had given him. He asked his parents about getting a microscope attached to a camera so he could take pictures
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of the snowflakes. They agreed and Willie started taking pictures. The first winter the pictures did not turn on, but the second winter he started getting good pictures. He took pictures of many things and eventually put the pictures into a book. The book was published when he was 66 years old.

The story is a great historical lesson on how hard Willie had to work on taking pictures of snowflakes. It also shows that although money is nice, sometimes people work hard on things for their pleasure and the pleasure of those they share it with.

I would use this book with third to fifth graders to discuss Willie Bentley and the hard work he put into making something beautiful for the world to see. We will discuss how sometimes hard work is rewarded with the pleasure of others, and not money. I would also discuss how he changed the world’s perspective on how we think of snow.
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LibraryThing member dchaves
I like the additional information on the side. Its a good representation of the story separate from the facts of his life. The pictures at the end of the book are really good. I would have expected more of these throughout the text.
LibraryThing member kschorn
A cute story based on the real life work of Wilson Bentley regarding snow crystals.
LibraryThing member juliabaird1
I really enjoyed the sidebar that held additional information. This book could be used to teach students about snow and other winter weather conditions.
LibraryThing member sylvatica
The story of Snowflake Bentley is a great one – it’s the story of someone who really took on a project over his whole lifetime, was devoted to it, even in the face of funny looks and lack of funding. I liked the way this book was laid out with the ‘story’ part and then sidebars with
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specifics of Bentley’s life. However, I can’t say that the illustrations were jaw-dropping, and that’s what it won for. The woodcuts are well done and the watercolors nicely used, but I’ve seen much more amazing illustrations in non-Caldecott books. (pannarrens)
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LibraryThing member ecugary
Snowflake Bentley is the story of a man that captured pictures of snow for everyone. He begged his parents to purchase a camera for him; they were very expensive. Although his father thought his idea was crazy, he loved his son and spent his savings to get him the camera. The man spent his life
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capturing snow. He also worked to photograph other seasons in pictures, but snow was his favorite.

This story could be used in conjunction with a science lesson. Students could begin by discussing the different types of weather and then learn about photography.
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LibraryThing member begone
Winner of 1999 Caldecott. The true story of Wilson Bentley, who became fascinated at a very young age with snowflakes. Story tells of how Bentley observed, examined and photographed the tiny crystals. Added information on sidebars about scientific method and snowflake facts. Really nice
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illustrations as well – woodcuts, as well as actual photographs taken by Bentley.
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Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

32 p.; 10 inches


0395861624 / 9780395861622






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