Monday, April 21, 2014

Nonfiction Monday: Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey by Loree Griffin Burns, photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz

This stunningly photographed book is an unusual look at a butterfly's life. Instead of focusing on the life cycle of an individual butterfly, it focuses on the farming, raising, and packaging of pupas on butterfly farms.

The description of the caterpillars' life and transformation is woven into the narrative of their journey from Costa Rica to Boston. There's additional information on life cycles, the associated vocabulary, a glossary, and further reading. As I've come to expect from a Scientists in the Field author, the local/native workers are given equal, if not more, face time and their role in the process is emphasized.

The photographs are simply gorgeous from the intricate details in close up butterfly photos to rows of iridescent green pupae. Harasimowicz could definitely give Nic Bishop a run for his money.

My one reservation about this book, and why it's not sitting on my shelf right now, is that it's published by Milbrook. If you're not familiar with Milbrook, they do not offer a wide variety of bindings - library bound is often their only option. Is this book awesome? Yes. Is it $20 worth of awesome? Well...I am really trying to get away from expensive, library bound nonfiction. A hardcover usually suffices for our amount of circulation. Sure, it might fall apart in about five years - but that's about the shelf life of most nonfiction anyways.

Verdict: Clear, concise writing about an unusual aspect of butterflies; beautiful photography; excellent additional research information. But I still can't decide if I really need another butterfly book at this price. I expect I will go on taking it on and off the list for some time to come.

ISBN: 9780761393429; Published 2014 by Milbrook; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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