Bird, Butterfly, Eel

( 1 )

Overview

Change is all around us.

From the first buds of springtime to the first autumn frost, nature shows us that change is all around us and that the world has its own way of beginning anew.

Bird, Butterfly, and Eel spend their summers on the same coastal farm, but in the fall they go to very distant and different places. Their journeys to the far reaches of land and sea make them remarkable creatures. James Prosek uses their stories and his own ...

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Overview

Change is all around us.

From the first buds of springtime to the first autumn frost, nature shows us that change is all around us and that the world has its own way of beginning anew.

Bird, Butterfly, and Eel spend their summers on the same coastal farm, but in the fall they go to very distant and different places. Their journeys to the far reaches of land and sea make them remarkable creatures. James Prosek uses their stories and his own sun-kissed paintings to introduce young readers to the basic elements of bird, fish, and insect migration.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Jewellike colors, skilled draftsmanship and intelligent composition bring readers right into the world of a trio of migrating animals. In a series of watercolors set in New England, Prosek (A Good Day's Fishing) enlivens his exploration of the life cycles of a barn swallow, a monarch butterfly and an American eel by introducing a sleek black cat into the spreads. She tips her nose up to the low-flying Butterfly, watches Bird as she feeds her nestlings and sits at the edge of Eel's pond (when they've gone south, she lies on an artist's table and sulks). Double-page spreads split horizontally into three panels to convey simultaneous action, and the aerial and underwater views add excitement. Prosek's lean text instructs simply: "[Eel] is eating insects and small fish and storing up energy for her long swimming journey ahead." The few moments where he does allow himself poetic license stand out by contrast ("Eel's young, small as toothpicks and clear as glass, swim up the creek to the pond"). Even very young readers with an interest in the natural world will relish Prosek's intimate portraits. Ages 6-10. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
Prosek employs an unusual perspective as he follows with words and paintbrush the migratory journey of a bird, butterfly, and eel. Their story begins in an Eastern coastal pond where the Monarch butterfly lives in a nearby meadow, the eel deep within the pond, and the barn swallow in the rafters safe from the barn cats. The cycle begins in summer and readers follow each through the seasons to journey's end. For the butterfly it is Central Mexico, for the eel it is deep in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, and bird spends his winter at the tip of Argentina. In spring each will travel back home and the cycle will begin again. Handsome full-page watercolors bring to life the flora and fauna of the habitat of these creatures. Horizontal panels are often used so that readers can view, simultaneously, the progress of each journey and life cycle. Appended is further information and facts about the bird, butterfly, and eel. A fascinating and informative introduction to animal migration, this is a worthy addition to any classroom or library. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 3

This unusual introduction to animal migration starts on a New England farm, which is home to a monarch butterfly, a barn swallow, and an American eel. During the summer, the creatures prepare for the long journey ahead. In fall, they travel more than a thousand miles to complete the next stage of their lives. Eventually, their offspring return to the same farm to recommence the cycle. The striking watercolor illustrations effectively introduce the animals in their habitats. Often the page layout, divided into three horizontal bands, reminds viewers of the parallel existence of bird, butterfly, and eel. The double-page map showing their respective journeys emphasizes the vast distances they migrate. Two pages of author notes supply fascinating information that older readers might use to expand their own knowledge or answer questions of curious listeners. A well-designed and useful resource to pique curiosity about an amazing aspect of the lives of many animals.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Kirkus Reviews
In summer, the three titular animals share the same coastal New England farm. In autumn, they begin their migration: Bird to Argentina, Butterfly to Central Mexico and Eel to the Sargasso Sea. There, Eel spawns, and it is her young who return to the farm after a year's journey. Similarly, it is Butterfly's young who populate the meadows the following spring while Bird herself comes back. The author's only misstep seems to be a couple of anthropomorphized passages that break the continuity of the factual material (does the cat really "miss" the travelers?). Extensive backmatter adds valuable background information about each animal. The brilliantly luminous watercolors deliver creatures so realistic they appear ready to slither and fly right off the pages. Gorgeous artwork and a wealth of facts nicely combine to create an introductory look at bird, insect and fish migration. (Informational picture book. 5-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689868290
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 2/24/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 436,979
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.70 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

James Prosek began his writing career at the age of twenty with Trout, An Illustrated History when he was still a student at Yale University. His other books include Joe and Me: An Education in Fishing and Friendship, The Complete Angler: A Connecticut Yankee Follows in the Footsteps of Walton, and Fly-Fishing the 41st: Around the World on the 41st Parallel. He wrote and co-produced a Peabody Award-winning fishing documentary on ESPN. His first venture into children's books, A Good Day's Fishing, followed his adult books' footsteps in its popularity. He lives next to a fishing pond in Easton, Connecticut. Visit James at his website www.jamesprosek.com.

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