cover image Already a Butterfly

Already a Butterfly

Julia Alvarez, illus. by Raúl Colón. Holt/Ottaviano, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-62779-932-4

Mari, the butterfly of the title, is a dazzling creature, a brown-skinned fairylike girl whose resplendent blue wings allow her to soar. But between exercises and work to “pollinate the whole field, she can’t find time to slow herself or rest. “You just have to learn a way to get rid of the hurry and worry that keep you from knowing who you really are,” Bud tells her. He’s a fat lily bud whose beaklike smile and friendly eyes make him an engaging guru. He invites Mari to remember a time when she was still in her chrysalis, “all soft and warm,” then coaches her to breathe: “Breathing in, you are a butterfly. Breathing out, you feel happy.” Mari stretches out her human arms, then launches into joyful flight—not doing, just being. Alvarez (Return to Sender) pens this introduction to meditation with advisory zeal, focusing on explanations that will appeal to caretakers who seek to support young meditation practitioners. Jewel-toned spreads by Colón (Imagine!) provide scope for dreaming: Mari’s distinctive features—her black braids, her elflike shoes, her golden crown—give readers a fantasy heroine to linger over. An afterword provides information about the story’s origin. Ages 5–9. [em]Author’s agent: Stuart Bernstein, Stuart Bernstein Representation for Artists. Illustrator’s agent: Gail Gaynin, Morgan Gaynin. (June) [/em]