Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Bees, Snails, & Peacock Tails: Patterns & Shapes . . . Naturally

Bees, Snails, & Peacock Tails: Patterns & Shapes . . . Naturally

Betsy Franco
Illustrator:  Steve Jenkins 
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 7 to 10
Simon and Schuster, 2008   ISBN: 978-1416903864

Nature is full of patterns and geometric shapes. Some of them, like the hexagons that you find in a honeycomb, are quite fascinating because we still have no real idea how the “math” of the pattern is passed on “from worker bee / to worker bee.”

Other patterns are more subtle. Have you, for example, ever noticed that moths are perfectly symmetrical? If, on a summer evening, a moth is drawn to your porch light, take a close look and you might see how the features on one wings are “perfectly matched” with those on the other.

In the fall, in many places in the northern hemisphere, you can look up into the sky and see another pattern literally flying by. Somehow geese and other migratory birds know that flying in a v-shaped “wedge” makes it easier for them “slice through the air.”

If you go snorkeling in a place where puffer fish live, it is likely that you will one day meet one of these usual fish. When they sense that danger is near, puffer fish fill their bodies with air until they are “almost a sphere.” Looking like a strange spiny floating ball, they are now in a form that makes them unattractive to a creature that is looking for its next meal.

With wonderful rhymes and gorgeous collage illustrations, the author and illustrator of this book give readers a picture of some of nature’s miraculous patterns and shapes.

At the back of the book the reader will find further information about the eleven topics that are explored in the title.