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Review of Traveling Butterflies

shingu_traveling butterfliesTraveling Butterflies
by Susumu Shingu; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary   Owlkids   40 pp.
9/15   978-1-77147-148-0   $18.95   g

This simple, elegant picture book traces the migration of the monarch butterfly from its northern home to its “winter sanctuary” in Mexico and back again. The story begins with eggs “as small as a dewdrop” on a milkweed leaf and progresses as caterpillars hatch from the eggs, then grow, and then spin cocoons; butterflies emerge and take flight, traveling thousands of miles; and the whole process repeats itself. Shingu’s account is at once poetic and informative. The natural grace of the language pairs beautifully with the straightforward depiction of cities, towns, and countryside traversed by the butterflies. Spare text, translated from the Japanese, is reproduced in a clean, open typeface. Each spread features the artist’s vivid paintings of the insects, with brilliant close-ups alternating with sweeping butterfly’s-eye vistas, offering the reader an impression of the creatures’ migration that is both intimate and expansive. An end note provides some scientific information about the migratory process. This is a contemplative celebration of a single facet of the natural world, perfectly suited for shared reading.

From the November/December 2015 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Thom Barthelmess About Thom Barthelmess

Thom Barthelmess is Youth Services Manager for the Whatcom County Library System in northwest Washington State.

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