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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