cover image Darkness and the Butterfly

Darkness and the Butterfly

Ann Grifalconi. Little Brown and Company, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-316-32863-0

As with last year's Caldecott honor book, The Village of Round and Square Houses, this is a beautifully evocative tale of childhood in an African tribal setting. Through vivid color paintings and a well-paced narrative, Grifalconi relates the tale of Osa, an adventurous girl plagued by an excessive fear of the dark. One day, Osa discovers the house of the Wise Womana healer with the power to explain dreams. When the Wise Woman remarks on Osa's brave climb to the top of a high ladder, Osa confesses, ""I'm not so brave . . .not at night!'' The Wise Woman points out a small yellow butterfly to the child: ``Darkness pursues her tooyet She flies on!'' Osa falls into a deep sleep and dreams that she has become a butterfly. When she awakens in the Wise Woman's lap, Osa knows the dream has changed her. The story and paintings are suffused with love and warmth; they reassure with their universal appeal. This is a story to share. Ages 4-8. (November)