Glasswings: A Butterfly's Story

( 3 )


Claire, a glasswing butterfly whose transparent wings reflect her lush home, finds herself lost in the city after being separated from her family. She doesn’t know how they will ever see her, but she finds new city friends, a pigeon, an ant, and a ladybug, who search for the flowers Claire needs to live. They come upon a tiny urban garden, and as Claire drinks from the flowers’ nectar, she pollinates more flowers. Soon the garden—and Claire's clear wings—fill with color, allowing her family to recognize her at ...

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Claire, a glasswing butterfly whose transparent wings reflect her lush home, finds herself lost in the city after being separated from her family. She doesn’t know how they will ever see her, but she finds new city friends, a pigeon, an ant, and a ladybug, who search for the flowers Claire needs to live. They come upon a tiny urban garden, and as Claire drinks from the flowers’ nectar, she pollinates more flowers. Soon the garden—and Claire's clear wings—fill with color, allowing her family to recognize her at last. Together they create an oasis for all to enjoy.  Facts about glasswing butterflies and pollination complete this beautiful and educational picture book. Kleven’s latest offering is as colorful and delicate as a butterfly’s wings—a treasure that can be cherished for years.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As a “glasswing” butterfly with transparent wings, Claire blends in with her surroundings. In a rural area, that means flowers or ferns, but when the wind sweeps her into “a city of concrete and corners,” her wings take on the colors of traffic lights, sidewalks, and buildings. Kleven (The Friendship Wish) blends kaleidoscopic patterns with naïf forms (Claire herself resembles a child’s drawing), creating a vivid patchwork effect. The skyline resembles a quilt with clouds of boiled wool; apartment windows become tapestries of faces and collage prints, while newsprint gives gritty texture to a fledgling community garden. As a girl waters the flowers, Claire and the birds and bugs she has met help cultivate the urban ecosystem: “Claire fluttered among the flowers, sipping their nectar, carrying their sticky yellow pollen from plant to plant.... The ant stirred up the soil they grew in. The pigeon scattered their seeds this way and that.” Readers won’t mind the airy storyline or sentimentality; the radiance of each spread seems purely intended to provoke joy, kindheartedness, and optimism. Ages 3–5. (May.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Our heroine Claire, a Glasswing butterfly, is caught by the wind one day and blown far from her family in the forest to the city. Since her wings are almost transparent, she is hard to see, so how will her family ever find her? A friendly ladybug shows Claire where there are a few flowers so she can drink the nectar. As she does this, she spreads their pollen. Her friends help the flowers grow as well. The ladybug eats the pests; the pigeon scatters the seeds; the ant stirs the soil. Claire is happy amid the growing flowers, but misses her family. So the ending is satisfyingly happy. Pages are flooded with delicate, spring-like colors that inspire happy emotions. Country scenes include flower shapes while those in the city offer people, machines, and detailed architecture using the same palette. Kleven's lush mixed media illustrations are made with watercolor, ink, pastel, colored pencils, and scraps of paper and lace. A note reminds us that Claire is a "make-believe butterfly" but adds factual information about butterflies and Glasswings that are reinforced in the story. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3—In a lovely meshing of science and story, Kleven highlights a lesser-known species of butterfly and introduces concepts about insects and habitats. Claire is a Glasswing butterfly, a species with transparent wings found in Central and South America. One day the wind sweeps her away from the rain forest where she lives with her family, and she ends up in "a city of concrete and corners." She befriends a pigeon, a ladybug, and an ant, and together they turn a few scraggly flowers growing in a vacant lot into a beautiful garden, all by doing what each one does best: carrying pollen from plant to plant, scattering seeds, keeping flowers free from pests, and stirring up the soil. The garden becomes such a riot of color that Claire's butterfly family finds her easily when they come to the city in search of her. Kleven's trademark collages burst with color and are brimming with details that make readers want to walk right into the pictures. This emotionally satisfying story will be equally at home in storytime or science class.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
Kirkus Reviews
Seasoned illustrator Kleven presents a rich, colorful picture book with a strong ecological message. Readers follow Claire, a transparent glasswing butterfly, as she soars and swoops and sips nectar, always taking on the hue of her surroundings. Disaster strikes, however, when a gust sweeps her away from her family and her "bright, blooming home" and whisks her off to the city, with its forbidding concrete walls and dearth of life-sustaining flowers. The denizens of this Central American city, a pigeon and a ladybug, are friendly, and they lead the hapless butterfly to an empty lot, where she is able to revive her spirits with nectar from a few scraggly urban flowers. The butterfly's presence works its magic on the desolate urban setting, and before long, her activities help to pollinate the flowers. The pigeon and the ladybug also help with the gardening, and soon, the garden is a riot of color. And so is Claire! Miraculously, her transparent wings have taken on the flowers' colors, and they attract a family of glasswings from the country, who turn out to be none other than her beloved relatives. Young children will enjoy spotting the myriad details in the sumptuous collages that fill the pages, modulating the palette expertly as Claire transforms the gray city into a garden. A joyously optimistic book. (author's note) (Picture book. 2-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803737426
  • Publisher: Dial
  • Publication date: 4/18/2013
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 244,370
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Elisa Kleven grew up making dollhouses and collages out of doilies and postage stamps. Today, she is thrilled to carry on building her artistic dream worlds in the form of beautiful picture books. Elisa lives in Berkeley, California.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 11, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Hott Synopsis: ¿One little butterfly can make a big difference¿

    Hott Synopsis:
    “One little butterfly can make a big difference”
    One afternoon the beautiful glass-winged butterfly, Claire, is swept away from her beautiful meadow full of lush flowers and scrumptious nectar to a concrete jungle lacking color and nourishment. Knowing no way to return to her family, Claire makes the best of it and makes a big difference!

    Hott Review:
    What I liked: Adorable! I really enjoyed this book & will absolutely share it. It’s a great book to keep in your library and share!
    What I didn’t like: Nothing!

    Author: Elisa Kleven
    Source: JKS Communications
    Grade: B+
    Ages: 2-8

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  • Posted July 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Glasswings: A Butterfly¿s Story Elisa Kleven is by far one of t

    Glasswings: A Butterfly’s Story

    Elisa Kleven is by far one of the best children’s book writers I have had the pleasure of reading. My own child is far from the age group for this particular book but she still enjoyed it as did I. There is quite a bit of symbolism in the book that seems synonymous with human frailty and fears but written in such a way as to make it easy for a child to understand. 

    As the little butterfly Claire, goes on her journey you float along with her and find yourself longing for a happy ending to her story. Children will no doubt love the tale and the illustrations are done in such a way as to be simplistic yet hold an imaginative beauty that speaks to the young and old. 

    I would highly recommend this book to all readers, not just those of certain age.

    Kitty D. Bullard (GMTA Literary Reviews)

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  • Posted July 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Michelle Robertson for Readers' Favorite Glasswings

    Reviewed by Michelle Robertson for Readers' Favorite

    Glasswings: A Butterfly's Story is written by Elisa Kleven. The author created this book for young preschool children. The design, layout, and formatting of this book deserve a five star rating, it is perfect in the eyes of young readers. The illustrations were done so elegantly and creatively, adding a touch of magic to the story with all the color the pages provide. 

    It is the story of a young female butterfly who is almost invisible if she isn't next to an object of color because her wings are as clear as glass. The book offers adventure, a sense of self confidence,  friendship, and a lesson in teamwork, as the little butterfly ventures away from her family and ends up alone in a big city with unfamiliar surroundings and resident creatures. 

    Elisa Kleven took a species of butterfly and created a character in a book to help children understand the specifics of the Glasswing butterfly with ease. Adding that it was magical that the butterfly was clear like glass, but could be any color allows the story to be fun and creative. Elisa provides a fact sheet at the beginning of the book telling younger readers about the actual Glasswing Butterfly. This is a great addition to the book, helping the children understand that although the book is fictional, the butterfly itself is real. The story, combined with the beautiful art that illustrated its pages made this book one of my favorites. I loved it.

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