Jun 10, 2009
My daughter just finished kindergarten, and one of the last things they studied was the life cycle of butterflies. What a treat for her and my son when my dearest friend Christine ordered a Butterfly Pavilion for her kids, letting my kiddies experience it too! The Pavilion is a pop-up, netted habitat that comes with the caterpillars and some other supplies. The kids were able to watch the caterpillars form chrysalises and then waited for them to "bloom" (that's what my son was calling the hatching of the butterflies, and I think it's great terminology for it!). After they bloomed, Christine put orange slices in the pavilion, and the children rubbed their fingers on the oranges to attract the butterflies. They loved being able to have the butterflies land on their fingers!
There are numerous picture books about butterflies out there, but I'd like to recommend two in particular, Hurry and the Monarch and Butterflies on Carmen Street/Mariposas en la calle Carmen.
What makes Hurry and the Monarch stand out is the beautiful watercolor illustrations, the pages almost drip all those amazing colors of butterflies in bloom. The story itself is the tale of the journey a monarch makes to lay its eggs. Along the way, one of the butterflies meets a tortoise, this sets up a nice juxtaposition of the briefness of the butterfly's life with the longevity of the tortoise's life.
I came across Butterflies on Carmen Street while researching publishers for my own book. This charming book is about a girl named Julianita who is studying butterflies at her school (much like my own daughter). Julianita's homework is to bring home a caterpillar, watch it form a chrysalis, hatch it, and release it when it's ready to make its journey to Mexico. With the help of her wise grandfather, Julianita is able to let go of her butterfly (which she named Tiger) so that it may make its journey over Carmen Street and on to Mexico. I loved seeing Julianita's town from Tiger's eyes. Even more, I love experiencing the world through my children's eyes, their joy is contagious!