Monday, March 4, 2013

Nonfiction Monday: Butterflies

 I did a butterfly program for Messy Art Club at the end of January and was icked out when I went to pull butterfly books and realized that while we had quite a few new ones, we also had some very old and icky titles as well. So I requested a big stack from other libraries to look at some additional titles (we already have Nic Bishop, Dianna Hutts Aston, etc.).

Monarch Butterfly by Gail Gibbons. I like Gail Gibbons' older titles better than her newer ones. This is a simple explanation of the life cycle of a monarch from egg through metamorphosis and migration. It includes instructions on hatching butterflies and some additional monarch butterfly facts. Unfortunately, I'm really going for more photographs in my nonfiction and this is just too old - 1989. Even updated, some things I think have changed, including new information on the monarch's migration path.

Fly, Monarch, Fly by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace. This information book about monarchs is written in the form of a story as a family of bunnies goes to a butterfly sanctuary. There are little crafts interposed. However, I found this a bit too long for reading aloud and I didn't really like the narrative. It was a bit bland. I have a lot of butterfly books in the picture books and if I want something to read aloud in storytime I'd use Nic Bishop's Moths and Butterflies or Dianna Hutts Aston's A Butterfly is Patient. The cut paper illustrations here aren't bad, but they're just too blocky and simplistic for the age of the audience that would sit still for this amount of text.

 Eggs, Legs, Wings: A butterfly life cycle by Shannon Knudsen, illustrated by Simon Smith. This is an entry in Capstone's First Graphics series. I reviewed some of these for No Flying No Tights and was not a fan, but this one works pretty well. The comic format is excellent for showing the stages of the butterfly's life and while the illustrations aren't amazing, they're very life-like and as close to photographs as possible. The reading level is about grade 1-2 and this is something I'd put into the easy reader section (where I already have some butterfly books, including National Geographic's migrations series). I think this would be useful for kids wanted to read on their own about the butterfly life cycle.
How to Raise Monarch Butterflies: A step-by-step guide for kids by Carol Pasternak. This is a very detailed guide to a butterfly's life cycle, focused on raising them yourself or as a class. This would be most suitable for an older middle grade audience as the print is fairly small and there's a lot of detail and text. There are, however, lots and lots of gorgeous photographs. I can see a lot of teachers wanting to use this in their classrooms, or kids doing a science project.

Inside Butterflies by Hazel Davies, illustrations by Melisa Beveridge. This is the most complete guide. It has lots of different butterflies and is packed with photographs, facts, information, drawn diagrams and pictures, and more. It does have 10 fold-out pages and I thought it was really annoying and unnecessary that some opened to the side and some to the top. I was also a little disturbed that the final section on collection seems to be encouraging kids to start their own butterfly collection with no cautions on rare or endangered butterflies, not to mention that with all the historic collections available online and in museums, do we really need to kill any more butterflies?
However, despite these drawbacks, it really is the best new browsing guide I could find that includes lots of different butterflies and information.

Monarch Butterfly by Gail Gibbons
ISBN: 082340773x; Published 1989 by Holiday House; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

Fly, Monarch, Fly! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
ISBN: 9780761454250; Published 2008 by Marshall Cavendish; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

Eggs, Legs, Wings: A butterfly life cycle by Shannon Knudsen, illustrated by Simon Smith
ISBN: 9781429653671; Published 2011 by Capstone; Borrowed from another library in my consortium; Purchased for the library

How to raise Monarch Butterflies: A step-by-step guide for kids by Carol Pasternak
ISBN: 9781770850019; Published 2012 by Firefly; Borrowed from another library in my consortium; Purchased for the library

Inside Butterflies by Hazel Davies
ISBN: 9781402778742; Published 2011 by Sterling; Borrowed from another library in my consortium; Purchased for the library


Anonymous said...

I love butterfly books and hadn't yet come across a couple of these. Thanks for sharing. Do you know Irene Kelly's IT'S A BUTTERFLY'S LIFE? My kids loved it when they were younger.

I have a butterfly picture book coming out myself soon. It's a bit outside the box (pupa?); can't wait to share it with butterfly and book lovers in Spring 2014.

Loree Burns

Jennifer said...

Good to know, I'll look forward to that next year!

jama said...

Thanks for spotlighting these titles. I was only familiar with A Butterfly is Patient, so this is quite a treat.

Ms. Yingling said...

Thank you! I'm tired of hearing about the next snowpocalypse! Put out daffodil pens today and may have to ut out some spring books just to get through March.

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

The Davies book looks just right for my sixth graders...and how nice to think about butterflies on this cold March day!

Perogyo said...

What a wonderful addition to any spring reading session these would be!