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Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Butterfly is Patient, written by Dianna Hutts Aston and illustrated by Sylvia Long. Chronicle Books, Raincoast. 2011. $18.99 ages 5 and up

"Wings can help butterflies camouflage, or hide, themselves in the environment. One kind of butterfly, the peacock butterfly, makes a hissing sound by rubbing its wings together when it is alarmed."

What a wonderful companion book to the two previously done by this collaborative team! Each section is two pages in length and offers a simple four word statement which is followed by brief highlights of a butterfly's life. Young readers will find the information accessible and useful whether reading for a research report, or just adding to their world knowledge. A lovely, detailed watercolor image offers clear visual connection to the text.

Becuase the illustrations have clear labels, this is very useful as an identification guide. I love the front piece that shows great variety in caterpillars and then, the back that shows the butterflies that they become. It's a bit of a matching game...and children will learn, as I did, that every page of the book must be read to make all the matches. My eyes were constantly roving back and forth to check out a new species.

From caterpillar to chrysalis to adult is a journey that young naturalists will find awesome, and quite spectacular! Ms. Aston shows how butterflies help flowers, how they get the nourishment they need, the variety in size, how they protect themselves and that:

"A rainbow of shiny, powdery scales cover the wings of a butterfly, scales stacked like shingles on a roof. Without scales, its wings would be as transparent as the wings of a bee or a dragonfly."

The author obviously does her research! She reads, watches and even puts some under a microscope for a much closer look. Be sure to take a close look yourself at the page about the 'puddle club'...who knew? Sylvia Long has very obviously done the same thing. She uses watercolors to create her beautiful, realistic images. It must be a long and patient process to get them 'just right'. Both must learn a lot as they go about creating such a special book!

I hope I have piqued your interest in this book. If so, be sure to check for An Egg is Quiet and A Seed Is Sleepy by this creative team.

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