Melissa is a scientist with a mission. She states her mission in the very first sentence: "Butterflies fill our world with beauty and grace. But sometimes people do things that make it hard for them to live and grow." The mission is stated so frequently that it becomes tiresome and almost detracts from the interesting information about individual butterfly species or the delicate, softly colored and quite accurate illustrations by Higgins Bond. We see butterflies as caterpillars and then seeking nectar, surrounded by typical habitat and gloriously colored wildflowers. The illustrations stand alone so well, you may want to prop the book open just to see the Oregon Silverspots against the northwest mountains, Schaus swallowtails in the forest, or the unusual Karner blue thriving on land burned by natural wildfires. The endpapers use small maps of the United States to show the range of each butterfly described in the book. There are tips for starting a butterfly garden and other ways to help butterflies. The overstated mission aside, this book is excellent for browsing and is a simple introduction to diverse habitats, the problem with non-native/invasive species, and the complex interconnections among species in a single ecosystem. The book includes a short bibliography with books for young explorers highlighted. 2006, Peachtree Publishers, Ages 6 to 10.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-This is a slender, pictorial introduction to the idea that various butterflies rely on specialized habitats for survival, and that humans can affect the balance of these delicate environments. Stewart describes the niche butterflies fill as pollinators and their importance in complex food chains, and offers tips on helping these fragile flutterers continue to decorate our landscapes. Even more interesting are the 11 species she presents as prime residents in various locales, including the familiar Monarch and rarer individuals such as the Palos Verdes Blue. Bond's realistic acrylics keep colorful step, recording charred forests, serene pastures, and placid ponds with natural beauty, placing the starred butterflies and their caterpillars in their preferred locations. Pair this title with Eve Bunting's Butterfly House (Scholastic, 1999) for additional beauty or team it with Jonathan P. Latimer and Karen Stray Nolting's Caterpillars and/or Butterflies (both Houghton, 2000). Eye-catching and informative.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Stewart's latest introduces readers to the habitats of several butterflies found in the U.S., and how people can have a negative impact on them. With its emphasis on conservation, this is more a starting point for generating interest than a source for research. General information is limited to the four life stages of a butterfly. A few brief sentences introduce and summarize the longer sidebar text about each butterfly. The first six focus on the insect's fascinating eating habits-most eat only one plant type. The last five concentrate less on the species and more on the threat to its survival-pesticides, invasive species, private collections. Finally, readers learn the butterfly's role in the habitat and are taught how to attract and protect local species. Gorgeous artwork shows up-close portraits of each butterfly, as well as a larger, detailed view of its habitat. Good observers will spot each butterfly, egg or caterpillar within the habitat. While the artwork is worth a look, it does not make up for the heavy-handed conservation message and lack of general information that plagues this text. (bibliography) (Nonfiction. 5-8)