Butterfly House

Eve Bunting, Author, Greg Shed, Illustrator Scholastic $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-590-84884-8
In this somewhat treacly memoir, a girl saves a caterpillar, ""a small black creature/ like a tiny worm,/ ...from a greedy jay/ who wanted it/ for lunch."" Her grandpa explains that she has found a larva that will become a butterfly, and the two make a shoebox home for it, decorated with cut-paper flowers and topped with a sky-blue lid and a ""curve of rainbow/ like a hug/ to keep her safe."" When the caterpillar transforms into a painted lady, the girl lets it go. Many years later, when the granddaughter has reached her grandfather's age, butterflies continue to flock to her garden. Bunting precisely documents the raising of the butterfly, but, unlike her other intergenerational tale, I Have an Olive Tree (reviewed above), this story conveys little of the relationship between the girl and her grandfather. Much of the connection between the girl and her rescued pet comes through at the end, thanks to Shed's (also teamed with Bunting for Dandelions) close-up paintings in a smudgy pastel palette that connects past and present with an air of timelessness. A step-by-step guide to raising a butterfly closes the book. Ages 5-8. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/03/1999
Release date: 05/01/1999
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