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Red Butterfly: How a Princess Smuggled the Secret of Silk Out of China Hardcover – October 9, 2007


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Hardcover, October 9, 2007
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 880L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Library Binding edition (October 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763624004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763624002
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 10 x 11.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,189,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Deborah Noyes is the author of HANA IN THE TIME OF THE TULIPS, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, as well as other books for children and adults. She also edited the young adult anthologies GOTHIC! and THE RESTLESS DEAD. Deborah Noyes lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Sophie Blackall is the illustrator of several award-winning picture books, including RUBY'S WISH by Shirin Yim Bridges, MEET WILD BOARS by Meg Rosoff, and the Ivy and Bean books by Annie Barrows. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

More About the Author

Deb Noyes writes adult historical fiction, young adult novels and nonfiction, and children's books, and is an editor and photographer. Born in California, she has lived most of her adult life in Massachusetts, working all manner of day jobs to support the writing habit -- from bartender and book reviewer to children's book editor and zookeeper. She's the only person she knows who's been bitten by a dwarf lemur.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Z Hayes HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Based on a Chinese folktale, "Red Butterfly" is a beautifully-illustrated story about a young Chinese princess who is getting ready to leave her beloved homeland in order to marry the King of Khotan, in Tibet. She is sad that she has to leave all that is dear and familiar to her, and decides that she will carry a living reminder of her native land, in the form of tiny silkworms. The young princess knows that it is an act strictly forbidden for China greatly prizes the secret of weaving silk and wants to keep it within China. Will the young princess succeed in carrying out her secret plan?

When I chose this book for my daughter (I'm always looking for culturally diverse books for her), I was initially attracted by the lush and vivid illustrations, but as we read the story, both of us found this tale of a young princess forced to leave the comfort of home for an uncertain future engaging and yes, even sad. My little girl asked me at the end why the princes was sent off to a far away place without her parents, and I tried to explain it to her in a manner she would understand ( it is not easy explaining the strict norms of tradition back then in a culture where elders' decisions were not to be questioned). Older readers, aged 7 and up, would be better able to understand the finer nuances of this folktale. Recommended for multicultural collections at home and the school library.
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By Neem on July 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tastefully written about a place and a time when little girls were given away as brides to far away kingdoms and husbands and peoples they had never met, this book is poignantly beautiful . It reads more like a poem than prose. The simplicity of the vocabulary underlines the simple, hard truth about a glowing little princess child who must face her destiny while still so very young. That fact is repeated in the child's simple words: "I am a child with my hair yet cut across my forehead". Still wearing bangs, not old enough to sweep her hair up in exotic dos. The mystery of how she smuggled the secret of silk out of China ( a secret that had been kept for 5,000 years, and if revealed would mean certain death for the lawbreaker) becomes secondary to the heart and mind of the Red Butterfly.

The artwork is as clearly delineated as the story. There is little that is extraneous here, which emphasizes that what you are viewing is elemental to the theme. The artist's work is carefully balanced in his frame, and the story is carefully balanced on the fulcrum of the child who is faced with the loss of all that she loves on the one hand and her sense of duty and destiny on the other.
The reader and listener can sense the tension in the child who must obey, and accept with grace, the requirements of her royal station, and confine her emotions within. In her world emotions are never allowed to overwhelm. Love is second to duty. The artist has captured the seething emotions in the characters facial expressions, but it is accomplished with subtlety in the position of the eyes or the slight tilt of a chin.

My granddaughters related completely with the child and understood her situation. They responded with sympathy and compassion.
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By Regina Moore on September 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautiful story with exquisit illustrations. My granddaughter loved it. The book was in excellent condition. I don't have anything else to say as this was a gift for my granddaughter who loves stories about China. THe book came in time for her birthday.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Persop on April 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The story artwork and presentation are superb. It is interesting that the servant sets the moral tone. Equally interesting is the presentation of a person of privilege is shown thinking only of herself. A child but a highly educated and groomed for leadership. The story is not judgementel on a monumental action.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Kurian on February 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is beautifully illustrated but the choice in how the story was told was just very odd for a children's book. I thought it was just me so I gave it to my husband to see what he thought. He thought the illustrations were fantastic but agreed with me on the story. We read it to the kids since they are the real judge...they both asked for us to put it down. Sorry, we were super excited to read this story because of the legend (which is fascinating) but the book was not for us.
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