Wednesday, October 28, 2009


If you have hung out in the world of children's nonfiction at all in the last few years, you've almost surely heard of uber-photographer Nic Bishop. Last year, Bishop won a CYBILS award for NIC BISHOP FROGS. The annotation on the CYBILS website pretty much says it all:
Nic Bishop is known for his jaw-dropping nature photography. Open a book cover with his name on it and you'll be greeted with stunning action shots, exquisite attention to detail, and sharp, sharp close-ups that inspire awe. Couple that with Bishop's equally crisp, up-close and personal writing in Nic Bishop Frogs, and you've got an award-winning combination of text and illustration that captures a child-like wonder about a topic that is anything but new. That's quite a feat. Bishop's language is interesting and playful, and his analogies and references are right on, squarely aimed at where kids' heads are at. Simple word choices never talk down, but will allow newish readers to find success easily. The book flows logically, covering life cycle, defense, diet, habitat, and other essentials you'd expect to find in an animal book, but the organization is refreshingly kid-friendly, meandering through the topics as though Bishop and the reader were having a conversation while sitting in a marsh waiting for a frog. It's intimate and personal and accessible---frogs as you've never seen them before. Fascinating process notes are sure to inspire young photographers.
Substitute moths and butterflies for frogs, and you would have a pretty good review of NIC BISHOP MOTHS AND BUTTERFLIES. MOTHS AND BUTTERFLIES is an absolutely gorgeous book of nature photography, written by a biologist who clearly knows tons and tons and tons about his subject. He shares his knowledge in a way that is kid-friendly and accessible, yet not at all condescending or watered down.

At the end of the book, Bishop shares a little about his process, including a story of an overnight trip to Costa Rica to photograph a rarely seen rainforest caterpillar that is able to puff up its body and look like a snake. I was fascinated by this story and dropped in at his website to look for similar stories about his process. One whole section of his site is devoted to an explanation of how he takes his photographs. Fascinating stuff!

1 comment:

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I'd expected wonderful photographs when I saw the cover, but the wonderful text was a happy surprise.