At Wrapped in Foil this week, we are featuring picture book biographies. For STEM Friday let’s take a look at Small Wonders: Jean-Henri Fabre and His World of Insects by Matthew Clark Smith and illustrated by Giuliano Ferri, which delves deeply into the life of one of the first naturalists who explored the insect world with a scientific eye and at the same time wrote with the goal of sharing his insights not only with colleagues, but also with essays written for regular people.
Rather than following strict chronological order, Smith starts out by creating an air of mystery around the eccentric old man who lives in a small village in France. He then flashes back to the man’s childhood and his intense curiosity in the natural world around him. Using rich descriptive language, Smith captures Fabre’s fascination with the “small wonders” around him. Circling back, Smith finishes with Fabre as an elderly man again, now receiving great honors for his unusual life’s work.
The rich, lush illustrations are delightful, with insects to find and discuss in every one.
Small Wonders will intrigue budding naturalists, particularly entomologists. It might also appeal to almost anyone who felt at times that they don’t really fit in.
It’s STEM Friday! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
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