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A BUTTERFLY IS PATIENT by Dianna Hutts Aston


by Dianna Hutts Aston & illustrated by Sylvia Long

Pub Date: May 18th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8118-6479-4
Publisher: Chronicle Books

Another interwoven flight of poetry, natural history and lovely art from the creators of An Egg Is Quiet (2006) and A Seed Is Sleepy (2007).

Beneath hand-scripted headers that sometimes take license with facts but create lyrical overtones (“A butterfly is creative”), Aston offers specific and accurate descriptions of metamorphosis, pollination, camouflage, migration and other butterfly features and functions, along with the differences between butterflies and moths. Imagination-stretching comparisons—“monarchs weigh only as much as a few rose petals,” the wingspan of the Arian Small Blue is “about the length of a grain of rice”—lend wings to the body of facts, and though the author avoids direct mention of reproduction or death, a quick closing recapitulation that harks back to the opening page’s hatching egg provides an artful hint of life’s cyclical pattern. With finely crafted, carefully detailed close-up watercolors, Long depicts dozens of caterpillars and butterflies, each one posed to best advantage, unobtrusively labeled and so lifelike that it’s almost a surprise to page back and find them in the same positions.

Similar butterfly albums abound, but none show these most decorative members of the insect clan to better advantage. (Informational picture book. 8-10)