A deceptively simple mix of engaging story, appreciation of differences, and introduction to moths and butterflies.

MOTH & BUTTERFLY

TA-DA!

Change is in the air!

Two caterpillars romp happily through a garden, but something is about to happen! Minimal, energetic text and brightly colored illustrations full of kid appeal tell the tale of the two friends and capture the excitement of change in this exuberant introduction to the concept of metamorphosis and the differences between a moth and a butterfly. The story artfully incorporates the idea of change and the appreciation of differences and similarities between two friends with the concrete differences between the two insects that develop over the course of their life cycles; initial commonalities are described (legs, spots, eating habits) before the friends disappear into pupae to undergo metamorphosis, and then “POP!” Each appears in a new winged form (a moth and a butterfly), and differences are succinctly enumerated (color, movement, camouflage, sleep cycles). Warmth abounds, and life continues as the two friends see young caterpillars and greet them with a cheery “Happy Metamorphosis!” The simple text includes speech bubbles that add to the excitement and fun, and the author’s choice to focus on one big word and concept (metamorphosis) rather than a hefty vocabulary or the full life cycle (eggs are unmentioned) makes this a great choice for the very young.

A deceptively simple mix of engaging story, appreciation of differences, and introduction to moths and butterflies. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 8, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4051-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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