cover image Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature

Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature

Sarah C. Campbell, photos by Sarah C. and Richard P. Campbell. Boyds Mills, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-62091-627-8

The husband-and-wife team behind Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature (2010) demystify the concept of fractals, which mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot used to help understand complicated shapes in nature. “Every fractal shape has smaller parts that look like the whole shape,” explains Campbell, with an illustration of a tree’s dividing branches making the idea instantly clear. Elsewhere, an image of the airways, veins, and arteries in a pair of human lungs beautifully illustrates the notion of repetition in fractal patterns, echoed through figurative language: “Lungs continue to develop inside our bodies throughout childhood, growing like a tree to fill the space inside our chests.” This fascinating exploration should awaken readers’ powers of observation and appreciation for the intricacies of nature. Ages 5–7. (Apr.)