cover image Lemon Butterfly

Lemon Butterfly

Cao Wenxuan, illus. by Roger Mello. Reycraft, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4788-6975-7

The team behind Feather follows a butterfly that pursues its goal with determination, seeking flowers—“To a butterfly, a field of flowers is the most beautiful thing in the world”—to no avail. Mello illustrates with bright colors and bold, graphic forms whose moods and motifs shift: black-and-white abstract lines, undulating images that suggest the natural world, and more. Throughout, the butterfly’s simple silhouette flashes like a signal as it overcomes daunting obstacles. Cao portrays its fear as it tries to cross a river: “It takes refuge on a branch. Trembling.” The scent of flowers in a trail of hoofprints leads the butterfly not to the flowers, but to a horse, who directs it to the field that gave its prints their scent. When the butterfly arrives, the field is underwater, and the flowers are visible but out of reach. Now, something new is asked of the butterfly. Cao’s startling conclusion conveys a sense of unwavering devotion to a single purpose. Ages 8–up. [em](Sept.) [/em]