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The Beautiful Butterfly: A Folktale from Spain Hardcover – March 20, 2000

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The team behind Good Night, Dinosaurs here grants a happy ending to the tale of a heroine whose search for a mate traditionally ends with his death. In Sierra's comical version, a beguiling butterfly tests her suitors by asking them to sing. She listens patiently as the cricket "clicks," the frog "croo-ahs," and with a determined flick of her Spanish fan, she chooses the song of a gray mouse. But while the newlywed fellow fetches some pond water, a fish leaps up and swallows him. Sierra uses a repeated "The House That Jack Built" refrain to convey the ripple effect of the butterfly's sorrow ("The dove calls coo coo, and the tree drops its leaves," etc.) until the king enters and announces, "To show how sad I am, I will take off my robe and run around in my royal underwear." The fish laughs so hard at the king in his skivvies that he spits up the whiskered groom. Chess demonstrates the happily-ever-after conclusion with a family portrait of three "buttermice" (with mouse bodies, antennae and wings to match their mom's) playing jump rope and swinging from the branches of their hollow tree home. Sierra fills her cleverly and economically told tale with repeated phrases and sounds that trip off the tongue, while Chess's droll watercolors provide just the right amount of tartness for the sweet text. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 2-In this melding of two classic Spanish folktales, an alluring butterfly turns down a number of suitors before choosing a gentle mouse because his soft, sweet song is absolutely perfect for singing babies to sleep. Just when it looks as though they will live happily ever after, Mouse falls in a pond and is swallowed by a fish. The grief-stricken butterfly cries up a storm, which sets in motion a chain of events resulting in her beloved's regurgitation and a happy ending. The story makes good use of repetition to build to the climax, and the plot is intriguing. Chess's signature illustrations are full of bright color, pizzazz, and humor. Her insects' and animals' faces run through a gamut of expressions, from pleased to appalled, and there are many details to look at and enjoy. This is a good addition to the canon of such animal-wooing stories as John Langstaff's retelling of Frog Went A'-Courtin' (Harcourt, 1955) and classic animal death tales like William Stobbs's Who Killed Cock Robin? (Oxford, 1990).
Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: AD560L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books (March 20, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395900158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395900154
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 8.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,179,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
I read this book to all of my kids, but my daughter liked it better than my boys did. It's a corky, cute little tale, about a butterfly who thinks her beloved mouse friend has been eaten by a fish. Out of this comes a story that follows the same format as "There was an old lady who swallowed a Fly." This happened, then this happened, then this, etc. It's a zany little book, especially at the end. It has a happy ending. There are 26 actual pages, not counting the cover page and dedication page. There are 5 pages of full color illustrations included in the 26 pages. The illustrations are bright and lively. It's probably 1st grade level, maybe second. Young children who hear the book several times will be telling this story, I'm sure. I'm also sure they'll want to hear it again.
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Format: Hardcover
WHEN YOU OPEN THIS EXTRAORDINARY CHILDREN'S BOOK THE COLORS IN THE BOOK WILL TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY WHAT BEAUTY WHAT LIFE. THE BEAUTIFUL BUTTERFLY IS A STORY ABOUT LIFE, FRIENDS, AND LOVE, BUT TOLD ON A LEVEL ANY CHILD WOULD UNDERSTAND. I BOUGHT THIS BOOK FOR MY FRIENDS NEW BABY GIRL. BUT FIRST I HAD TO READ AND READ AGAIN THIS WONDERFUL BOOK THAT WISHED ME BACK TO CHILDHOOD WHERE ALL DREAMS DO COME TRUE.
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