Sidman, Joyce. 201. SWIRL BY SWIRL: SPIRALS IN NATURE. Ill. by Beth Krommes. New York: Harper Collins. ISBN 9780547315836. [Suggested Grade Levels 1-4]
Spirals are a shape that curls around a center point, a shape that can be a snuggling shape, a growing shape, and a clever shape. While spirals are often seen as a rather simplistic concept, Sidman takes it to a new level by looking at spirals in nature, concepts that often we would not think of. The spiraled, coiled shape of a snake, the emergence of fern fronds, a hedgehog or millipede, are just some of nature’s spiral that “reaches out, exploring the world” as it unwinds and expands. The exploration of spirals in nature is not new, but in this book the spirals are not shown through photographs but rather, through the richly developed images created by Krommes.
This award winning illustrator does not disappoint as the scratchboard watercolor illustrations are complex, yet not so overwhelming that the young reader will be put off. Rather, the illustrations will be pored over as the images work seamlessly with the simple, open-end verses. Of particular note is the supportive end matter for further information about the spirals pictured in the book.
This book is ideal for introducing the science or math concepts of shapes found in nature, including Fibonacci. Photos and drawings could be created by students to further support the spirals found in nature as well as exploring the process of creating scratchboard drawings.
Other books with this art form or exploring minute details in nature:
Swanson, Susan Marie. THE HOUSE IN THE NIGHT. ISBN 9780618862443
Sidman, Joyce. BUTTERFLY EYES AND OTHER SECRETS OF THE MEADOW. ISBN 9780618563135
By Christine J. Rayl