Lois Ehlert, beloved illustrator of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
and many other bold, beautiful picture books has outdone herself with this gorgeous (seriously breathtaking) celebration of butterfly metamorphosis. "Out in the fields, eggs are hidden from view, / clinging to leaves with butterfly glue. / Soon caterpillars hatch. They creep and chew. / Each one knows what it must do." As the gentle rhyme unfolds, we turn the small, partial pages that form the larger spread of fabulous foliage in this lush, oversized book. Before our eyes, the eggs turn to caterpillars, the caterpillars to cases, the cases to lovely butterflies. "They pump their wings, get ready to fly, then hungry butterflies head for the sky." The colors become increasingly dazzling, each butterfly springing to life with Ehlert's color-soaked cut-paper magic. Several pages of background material conclude the book, labeling different kinds of butterflies at different stages of development, from the buckeye butterfly to the painted lady to the monarch. A "Butterfly Information" page clearly labels butterfly anatomy and answers basic question about these fascinating fluttery insects, a "Flower Identification" page showcases butterfly-attracting flowers such as the purple coneflower (echinacea), phlox, and lantana, and the last page offers a few pointers on growing a butterfly garden. (Ages 3 to 6) --Karin Snelson
From Publishers Weekly
Ehlert (Hands; Market Day) again spreads her creative wings to deliver this inventively designed picture book about caterpillars' metamorphosis into butterflies. Nestled against a verdant spring-garden backdrop formed by the front end paper and opening page, readers will find a small book within the book. On each of the smaller pages, which are artistic extensions of the main background spread, Ehlert unfolds a rhyming text explaining how caterpillars lay eggs and form "a case in which to grow" before "wings unfold; new butterflies are born!" A series of half and full pages show the brilliant butterflies taking wing, flitting among bold cut-paper-collage flowers in vibrant pinks, purples, yellows, reds and oranges. The brief and cheery tone serves as an inviting introduction into a fascinating life cycle. Several closing pages contain detailed information on butterflies, a visual glossary for butterfly and flower identification (including ways of recognizing butterflies by their caterpillar and chrysalis markings) and suggestions for growing a butterfly garden. On the whole, Ehlert soars with a masterful blend of art and natural science. A must for budding lepidopterists. Ages 3-7.
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