Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian

Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian

By: Margarita Engle
Published by: Henry Holt & Company
Publication Date: 2010
List: Picture Book Biographies of People Who Lived During 1650-1800

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In the Middle Ages, people believed that insects were evil, born from mud in a process called spontaneous generation.  Maria Merian was only a child, but she disagreed.  She studied caterpillars in secret, for the neighbors would have accused her of witchcraft if they knew.  

Maria watched carefully as her caterpillars spun themselves cocoons, which opened to reveal summer birds, or butterflies and moths. She saw the whole life cycle of the summer birds and documented what she learned in vibrant paintings.

This is the story of one young girl who took the time to observe and learn, and in so doing, disproved a theory that went all the way back to ancient Greece.

From the dust jacket

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