Butterflies and Books

When we were kids, my younger sister would gently pick up butterflies by their wings to take a closer look and then let them go.  Insects are fascinating to little kids.  We have been seeing lots of new insects in the backyard lately including butterflies, bees, and other buzzy things.

There are so many neat things to learn and admire about butterflies like the transformation they go through (from caterpillar to crysalis to adult butterfly), the migration of some, and their variety of color and design (check out this amazing one and this beautiful one).

If you live in or near New York City, The American Museum of Natural History has a Tropical Butterfly Conservatory…

Of course, you can also find some right in your very own backyard!

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Want to learn more?  Here is a handful of books about butterflies including a few we love and a few that are on our library list…

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Read along as this very hungry caterpillar eats its way though this classic board book with holes for the very young with a very beautiful butterfly ending.  Click on the link to watch a special 40th anniversary video and learn about how this book came about from Eric Carle himself!

Butterfly Butterfly: A Book of Colors by Petr Horácek

Lucy sees a beautiful butterfly in the garden, along with a bright green beetle, a brilliant blue dragonfly, some red ladybugs, and many more flying and crawling things. But when will the radiant butterfly appear again? Petr Horácek uses his trademark saturated hues and simple shapes to create an enticing view of the world of colors — and a peekaboo look at the slow-paced life abuzz in the backyard garden (Amazon Description).

Petr Horácek’s paper-cut collage illustrations are so beautiful!

A Butterfly is Patient by Dianna Hutts Aston

The creators of the award-winning An Egg Is Quiet and A Seed Is Sleepy have teamed up again to create this gorgeous and informative introduction to the world of butterflies. From iridescent blue swallowtails and brilliant orange monarchs to the worlds tiniest butterfly (Western Pygmy Blue) and the largest (Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing), an incredible variety of butterflies are celebrated here in all of their beauty and wonder. Perfect for a child’s bedroom bookshelf or for a classroom reading circle (Amazon Description)!

The illustrations by Sylvia Long are beautiful and also informatively detailed.

National Geographic Readers: Great Migrations Butterflies by Laura Marsh

The monarch butterfly, one of the most seemingly delicate of all of nature’s animals, proves to be one of the toughest in this reader. Making the yearly trip from the Northern United States and Canada to the Oyamel forest of Mexico is no easy task, and it takes five generations of butterflies in order to do so. Battling cold temperatures and the threat of starvation, these beautiful insects complete an almost 3,000 mile journey over the course of two months, only to have to turn and around and head back home (Amazon Description).

You can’t beat National Geographic for nature photography!

How to Hide a Butterfly and Other Insects by Ruth Hellers

The author/illustrator of Plants That Never Bloom presents a new series of books “sure to please small children and simultaneously teach them the tricks of camouflage.”–Publishers Weekly. This clever game of hide-and-seek features a grasshopper, a bumblebee, an inchworm, and other insects (Amazon description).

I am pretty sure I can get my son interested with this one!

Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian by Margarita Engle

In the Middle Ages, people believed that insects were evil, born from mud in a process called spontaneous generation. Maria Merian was only a child, but she disagreed. She watched carefully as caterpillars spun themselves cocoons, which opened to reveal summer birds, or butterflies and moths. Maria studied the whole life cycle of the summer birds, and documented what she learned in vibrant paintings.

This is the story of one young girl who took the time to observe and learn, and in so doing disproved a theory that went all the way back to ancient Greece Amazon Description).

I love stories about real people who do amazing things!

The Story of the Butterfly Children by Sibylle Von Olfers

Far far away, the butterfly folk live in a kingdom of beautiful gardens. The butterfly children play, dance and sing all day long with their little brothers and sisters, the caterpillars. The children can’t wait until the first day of spring, when they will finally get their wings. But first, they must learn about the many brightly-coloured flowers in the kingdom, so they can take part in the flying procession of peacock, swallowtail, red admiral and many other butterflies. Beautifully illustrated in the art nouveau style, this is another classic children’s story from the author of “The Story of the Root Children” and “The Story of the Wind Children” (Amazon description).

After all this butterfly learning it will be fun to escape to this magical world!

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And at Sunny Day Today Mama and her All Year Round Blog Carnival: Spring link up.  Check it out for lots of great spring activity links!



  1. I’m always so fascinated by butterflies. Beautiful creatures. There is a tree that a certain development in Hawaii Kai has (my sister lives there). At a certain time of the year, those trees are covered in butterflies. I am always so jealous (I want a butterfly covered tree too!).

    Gorgeous pic Ann.
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  2. What a spectacular photo! Our natural history museum has a whole wall of butterflies which I could spend hours studying, and our whole family loves the A Butterfly is Patient book. Will have to look for some of the others you list as well.
    Elisa | blissfulE recently posted..baby bluesMy Profile

  3. When Simon is older I would love to participate in the monarch program with him. If we homeschool it will be a great gateway for all kinds of learning, plus it will help out the project.

    That book about colors is now on my list to look for at the library!
    Krista recently posted..Simple, SpecialMy Profile

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