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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bye, Bye, Butterflies! Written by Andrew Larsen and illustrated by Jacqueline Hudon-Verrelli. Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2012. $18.95 ages 4 and up

"Then he saw something.
It was on the rooftop of the school.
He saw a single hand reach up and wave.
Then another.
And another.

He saw a butterfly emerge
above the waving hands."

As school comes to the end of another year, there will be classes where butterflies were raised and released. What a lovely learning experience for those lucky children. I have been delighted to have Monarchs in my backyard this spring...not many, but unusual. I have rarely seem them here. They are so beautiful and graceful!

In this Tell-Me-More Storybook, Andrew Larsen introduces Charlie and his father as they take a 'quiet walk' together. Charlie would rather talk; his father suggests that being quiet allows them to hear things they might otherwise miss. And, he's right.

It isn't long before they hear the voices of children. The children are saying goodbye to butterflies. Charlie hears the happy sounds and sees nothing. Looking up, he does notice something. He sees first one hand, then a growing number. Then, he sees butterflies...glorious, swooping butterflies. And then one small, happy, freckled face, attached to a boy. Charlie joins in the goodbye chorus, the boy disappears and Charlie and his dad continue their quiet walk.

The school year begins and passes quickly as they are wont to do. When a special delivery package arrives in the classroom after spring break, it holds a surprise for Charlie and his classmates. They learn a lot from its contents:

"I know it doesn't seem like there's much going on, but it's important to keep observing, " Miss Cathy reminded the children. "You never know what you might see." After a couple of weeks, the children finally saw something..."
Charlie's memory of that quiet walk with his dad resurfaces and he can pass the exciting event on to someone else. 'Bye, bye, butterflies!'

This is a lovely bit of nonfiction to share with young readers. Not everyone is lucky enough to grow butterflies in the classroom. The author makes it real and informative for those who have not yet had that experience. The additional two pages of follow-up boxes will give budding butterfly scientists the opportunity to learn about migration, drawing, and further facts.

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