Monday, January 30, 2017

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin & Illus by Mary Azarian

This is the true story of a man who spent his leisure time photography snowflakes for posterity. Fascinating guy! If nothing else, you have to admire his dedication to a single thing over the course of his lifetime. Who falls in love with snowflakes and stays there forever? WA Bentley, that's who.

And Mary Azarian. We just love her. As does the Caldecott committee. (1999)

Illustrating how long ago this all was...

There's ole Willie Bentley's obsession with snow kicking in in his childhood.

When other kids played, he caught snowflakes to look at them. 

He wanted to share the beauty he saw in his microscope with others, so he spent a winter painstakingly drawing snowflakes. Only, snowflakes are not very permanent. Especially in a warm place. So that didn't work out very well. 

Then he saw a camera advertised. Just the thing!

It is really incredible that Vermont farmers were forward thinking enough to spend all that money on a camera for a boy who wanted to take pictures of snow. In that day and age, it was generally the family poo-pooing dreams, but not the Bentleys. They were supportive. I like the Bentleys. 

The first snow season passed without a single usable picture of snowflakes. But he kept trying. And success! 

Once he got the hang of it, there was no stopping him. Neighbors thought he was crazy, but he didn't mind. 

Once he got snowflake photography down, he wanted to try other things. Here he is gently taping a grasshopper to a flower stem so he could photograph it in the morning with dewdrops. 

I doubt the grasshopper liked it, but I love this guy!

Sharing his pictures with neighbors.

Finally, Willie published a book with his pictures of snowflakes. 

Not long after, he caught pneumonia and died. 

However, his pictures have endured. And tomorrow, I will show you some. 

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