For many snow is fun thing to play in, a possible day off from school or work, a beautiful addition to the landscape, or, at the other extreme, a nuisance. To Wilson Bentley, it was a curiosity and a passion.
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Mary Azarian, tells the story of a young boy’s powerful fascination with snowflakes and his lifelong pursuit of discovering and capturing their beautiful designs.
Born in 1865 in Jericho, Vermont, Wilson Bentley “loved snow more than anything else in the world.” After receiving a microscope from his mother he discovered their intricate and magnificent shapes that seemed never to be duplicated no matter how many he observed.
Bentley’s desire to share the snowflakes’ beauty with others and the support of his parents despite their son’s unorthodox interests, led to their purchase of a magnifying camera that allowed the young man, after much trial and error, to capture the image of snowflakes before they melted for others to see.
A compilation of his work was eventually published for the world to see and remains in print to this day as an authoritative work on the subject.
Snowflake Bentley is an inspiring story of one person’s dedication and determination to pursue his calling and share it with the world. Coupled with his work, Snow Crystals, which can still be found in print, these books will surely open children to the beauty of nature and the great capacity of their own curiosity.