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Friday, June 5, 2015

Butterfly Park, written and illustrated by Elly Mackay. Running Press KIds, Publishers Group Canada. 2015. $21.00 ages 4 and up

"The girl knocked on
their door and asked a
boy if he would help
her catch the butterfly.

He agreed and knew
how to reach way up
high! Together they
caught the butterfly
and took it to Butterfly

When a young miss from the country moves to the city, she finds that she misses a lot. Instead of cricket song, she hears train whistles. Instead of bird calls, she hears car horns. That is not the worst of it: her house looks just like all the others. There may be a saving grace; but, she has not yet spied one butterfly, the things she misses most of all.

Right next door, there is a gate unlike any she has ever seen. Looking closely, and with wonder, she sees that the letters above it spell Butterfly Park. What great good fortune that must be! Returning to the garden in the morning, with a plate of cookies in hand, she is sure that she will find the butterflies it promises. Not a one to be found - she waits and waits.

Noticing a butterfly in the yard next door, she goes and knocks. A boy answers, agreeing to help her capture the butterfly. Once caught, they go off to release it in the park. It flies away. They follow the butterfly and see that it is attracted to flowers. Recognizing that they will need help to bring butterflies to the park, they are off on a search of the neighborhood to find willing volunteers. Capturing the beautiful beings is not the problem; rather, it is keeping them. What can they do?

You will be inspired to see how the children of the town solve their problem, how the little girl takes matters into her own hands, and how the community rallies round her to make Butterfly Park the perfect name for her new neighborhood. Now, she can feel comfortably at home.

Elly MacKay uses exquisite cut-paper artwork in glowing dioramas to set her story in the most remarkable space. As the community comes together, so do the images that will astonish readers and bring joy as they open the final gatefold that completes the book, fulfilling a young girl's dream.

Adding to what is already a very special experience, the book cover opens into a poster that might motivate aspiring gardeners to plant their own butterfly garden, showing them those plants that butterflies find irresistible.

How about you?

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