Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Patterns and shapes in the animal world (ages 3 - 7)

Children are fascinated by the world around them. Watch a young child, as they draw patterns in the sand or trace the lines in a seashell.  If your child loves animals and visual details, look for Bees, Snails, & Peacock Tails by Betsy Franco. 
Bees, Snails, & Peacock Tails
written by Betsy Franco
illustrated by Steve Jenkins
NY: Margaret K McElderry Books, 2008.
ages 3 -7
This poetry picture book about patterns in nature brought delight to my children, through its vibrant pictures, the engaging poetry and the fascinating concepts. Franco and Jenkins explore the many forms and functions of nature’s geometry. They show the mathematical genius of the bee, as it fits hexagons side by side in its honeycomb. They light up our eyes with the symmetry of the moth, showing the "stunning 'eyes', perfectly matched on either side." But my favorite poem is of the spider:
Some spiders weave
delicate tapestries
that shine in the sunlight
and sway in the breeze.

They spin lacy lines,
then go round
and round.
Their knowledge of shapes

is truly profound.
They sit in the center
admiring their art,

and wait for those flies
who aren't quite as smart.

(c) Betsy Franco, 2008.

Isn't it wonderful? And I just wish I could show you more of the artwork by Steve Jenkins. His use of cut and torn paper collage is amazing, bringing alive the transparency of the bee's wings, the fuzzy body of the moth, and soft fur of a mouse.

I found this at my local public library. It's also available at a bargain price on Amazon right now. If your children are fascinated by animals, check this out!

You can see a few excerpts at the Simon & Schuster page.  For another lovely review, check out The Miss Rumphius Effect.


  1. This sounds like such a fun book! I'll have to keep an eye out for it!

    Thanks, Mary!
    All the best,

  2. You had me at Steve Jenkins. I am always amazed by his artwork