Kirkus Reviews QR Code
DARKNESS AND THE BUTTERFLY by Ann Grifalconi Kirkus Star


by Ann Grifalconi

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1987
Publisher: Little, Brown

In a book that in its technique and setting is a companion-piece to her Village of Round and Square Houses (Caldecott Honor Book), Grifalconi explores the fear of the unknown suggested in an old African saying: "Darkness pursues the Butterfly." Osa is fearless by day, a merry tree-climber who is not even nonplussed to find herself lost while wandering near her African village. But making friends with the Wise Woman, she confides the terror that torments her after dark, when her imagination conjures fearsome spirits. Understanding, the Wise Woman suggests that the butterfly, though tiny, possesses enough courage to fly on; and this idea, expanded by a comforting dream in which Osa flies free in a beautifully lit night, gives her the strength she needs to conquer her own fear and return after dark to her rejoicing family. Grifalconi's illustrations glow with the beauty of the African world and the affection of a nurturing family. Like the child in Flossie and the Fox (McKissack), Osa is blessed with both charm and self-reliance. And as in Ets' memorable In the Forest, her journey has a strong undercurrent of the human search for trust and truce with sterner antagonists than the dark.