There are so many lovely picture books that focus on butterflies, and Spring seems like the perfect season to dive into them. Because of the sheer volume of good books I found on the topic of butterflies, I decided to give them their own week’s worth of study, instead of just lumping butterflies in with our study on insects.
A Butterfly is Patient – by Dianna Hutts Aston
Sylvia Long’s detailed and delicate illustrations make this book a true gem. The text gives a general overview of a butterfly’s life, from metamorphosis to migration. It’s a lovely book, both engaging and beautiful.
Butterfly Story – by Anca Hariton
Rather than an overview of butterflies in general, this book focuses on the life-cycle of a single butterfly, from egg to caterpillar, then from pupa to adult. The illustrations are graceful, and each stage of the butterfly’s metamorphosis is shown in exquisite detail.
Guess What: Bright and Beautiful – by Felicia Macheske
I love this series of books. In each one, the reader must guess the identity of a certain animal based on brief clues and close-up photographs of various parts of the animal. This book focuses on a monarch butterfly, and the photography is quite stunning.
Crickleroot’s Guide to Knowing Butterflies and Moths – by Jim Arnosky
The narrator of this book, Crinkleroot, is a delightful old man with a pet snake who lives on his hat. He takes us on an exploration of the world of butterflies and moths. One of the things I particularly loved about this book was the emphasis on learning the patterns of different butterflies and moths, so that you could recognize them out in nature. My son loved Crinkleroot’s sense of humor — particularly when he discovers a butterfly hiding in his beard!
Becoming Butterflies – by Anne Rockwell
This charming book follows a group of children as the observe the caterpillars in their classroom — through the stages of munching milkweed, through their disappearance into cocoons, and ending with their transformation into butterflies. It’s a sweet, accessible story and portrays the wonder of metamorphosis through the eyes of children.
Traveling Butterflies – by Susumu Shingu
This book describes the migration of monarch butterflies from Canada to their winter home in Mexico. The text is brief but poetic, and the illustrations are lush. Each page portrays a different element of the journey — over cities, near a waterfall, by towns and villages and plains. The pages that show the great masses of butterflies all gathered together in their winter habitat are truly magical.
Waiting for Wings – by Lois Ehlert
With bold, colorful illustrations and simple rhyming text, this book traces the life-cycle of four common butterflies — from their beginnings as eggs through their transformations into full grown butterflies.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar – by Eric Carle
No collection of butterfly books would be complete without this classic picture book. In Eric Carle’s inimitable style, we follow this hungry caterpillar’s life from his beginning as an egg on a moonlit leaf, through many meals (some of them quite monstrously large), and finally to his transformation into a butterfly. This is one that I have practically memorized from when my son was toddler-aged, and yet he still loves it.