Naturalist Angela’s Book Pick: 'Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature'

Updated: Jun 25, 2019

After reading this book, readers old and young will never view spirals the same way. Chances are you will also notice more of them.

Photo by Angela Rafac

With minimal text, this book, written by Joyce Sidman with pictures by Beth Krommes, explores the characteristics of this magical twirling, curling shape, from the tiny coiled proboscis of a butterfly to the curling, crashing waves near the ocean shore. You will discover spirals large and small in plants, animals, water, wind and outer space!


The watercolor and scratchboard illustrations artfully bring to life the words on the page. It is easy to understand why the artist is an award winner. Each page pops with color and detail that makes you want to keep scanning so you don’t miss anything.


The last two pages describe how and why the spiral is an effective and beneficial shape in nature. Each explanation is in language that is simple and easy to understand. It even mentions the spiral’s mathematical connection to the Fibonacci sequence of numbers, but don’t spin out of control about that subject. We don’t need to understand the math to appreciate and enjoy the spiraling shapes all around us.