A college artist with a wondrous command of color and design chronicles the life cycle of butterflies in this visually splendid book. Seeing the larger-than-life images of these flutterers is the next best thing to having one on your shoulder.
Ehlert (Hands; Market Day) again spreads her creative wings to deliver this inventively designed picture book about caterpillars' metamorphosis into butterflies. Nestled against a verdant spring-garden backdrop formed by the front end paper and opening page, readers will find a small book within the book. On each of the smaller pages, which are artistic extensions of the main background spread, Ehlert unfolds a rhyming text explaining how caterpillars lay eggs and form "a case in which to grow" before "wings unfold; new butterflies are born!" A series of half and full pages show the brilliant butterflies taking wing, flitting among bold cut-paper-collage flowers in vibrant pinks, purples, yellows, reds and oranges. The brief and cheery tone serves as an inviting introduction into a fascinating life cycle. Several closing pages contain detailed information on butterflies, a visual glossary for butterfly and flower identification (including ways of recognizing butterflies by their caterpillar and chrysalis markings) and suggestions for growing a butterfly garden. On the whole, Ehlert soars with a masterful blend of art and natural science. A must for budding lepidopterists. Ages 3-7. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Bold, beautiful colors help to make this unusual book a standout. The pages are different sizes and help the story unfold. Information and identification details about butterflies will provide an introduction for young children. A grand book! 2001, Harcourt Brace & Company, $17.00. Ages 3 mo. to 8. Reviewer: C. Henebry SOURCE: Parent Council Volume 8
In brief, simple verses and large type, Ehlert traces the life cycle of the butterfly, from egg through caterpillar and chrysalis to glorious emergence and flight to the garden. There they "dip and sip" and find a place to lay their eggs for another cycle. The artist's cut papers, as forecast on the cover, are brilliantly colored, in keeping with the subjects of butterflies and flowers. In the beginning, graduated half-pages tell the story of the caterpillars on the stems of unchanging flowers. Then large white pages are flooded with Ehlert's interpretations of blossoms and wings. The masses of petals plus the stunning butterfly wing patterns dazzle the eyes. This visual tribute to nature's handiwork is supplemented with facts about butterflies and flowers, plus information about how to grow a butterfly garden. 2001, Harcourt, $17.00. Ages 3 to 7. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Both books are well-documented resources for identifying butterflies and the plants that attract them. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Child Magazine Best Book of 2001 Pick
A profusion of garden-bright color greets young naturalists curious to learn more about the life cycle of butterflies. The pages start out small when the focus is on caterpillars, then expand to accommodate the winged beauties. A vibrant afterword includes butterfly and flower facts.
With each spread opening to an explosion of bright, gorgeous color, Ehlert (Market Day, 2000, etc.) takes a close-up look at the life stages of four butterflies, all of which are seen amidst a profusion of the plant life on which they subsist. Several shorter split pages, lining up with the stems and flowers on the standard-sized pages add extra measures of suspense and surprise as the author tracks her subjects' physical changes. The next set includes long, narrow pages that follow the flight to the flower garden. There, readers will need sunglasses to view the extravagantly hued varieties of butterfly-attracting flowers. Finished with the story, fanciers will find two pages on identification, more detailed descriptive information, and advice about starting a butterfly garden. (But don't remove those sunglasses.) Unfortunately, the main text-a singsong jingle-doesn't measure up to the eye-popping art. In order to serve the rhyme, Ehlert repeatedly has her butterflies "eat" nectar, even though, as explained in the appendix, they actually drink it-but this still makes a riveting introduction to the science and (visually at least) the poetry of these splendidly attired insects. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-7)