Christmas Picture Books – 2017 edition

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is our picture book tree. Every year I wrap up 25 Christmas themed picture books and put them in a tree-like pile in our living room. Some of the books are one we own, but most I check out for us from the library.

Then every day from the beginning of December through Christmas, my son unwraps a book and we read it together. I love this sweet Christmasy time together each morning during the lead up to Christmas Day.

When we first started this tradition, I had Mom-guilt about not purchasing a bunch of new books for my son to unwrap each year. But then I realized that using mostly library books can be a good reminder that the gift is the story itself and the experience of reading together — not the material object.

We’ve done this for several years now, and while we have some favorite titles that we read every year, I always try to find fun new titles too. Here’s our list for this year — we’ve found each of these books to be delightful!

1. Twelve Days of Christmas – by Rachel Griffin

twelve days

2. A Star for Christmas – by Trisha Romance

star for christmas

3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas – by Dr. Seuss

how the grinch stole christmas

4. Christmas in the Trenches – by John McCutcheon

christmas in the trenches

5. Birds of Bethlehem – by Tomie de Paola

birds of bethlehem

6. Pick a Pine Tree – by Patricia Toht

pick a pine tree

7. Under the Christmas Tree – by Nikki Grimes

under the christmas tree

8. The Night Before Christmas – by Clement Clarke Moore, illustrated by Raquel Jaramillo

the night before christmas

9. Red and Lulu – Matt Tavares

red and lulu

10. Samurai Santa – by Rubin Pingk

samurai santa

11. We Three Kings – by Gennady Spirin

we three kings

12. Bear’s First Christmas – by Robert Kinerk

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13. When Santa Was a Baby – by Linda Bailey

when santa

14. Sleigh Bells and Snowflakes – by Linda Bronson

sleigh bells

15. Maple and Willow’s Christmas Tree – by Lori Nichols

maple and willow

16. The Little Drummer Boy – by Ezra Jack Keats

little drummer boy

17. I’ll be Home for Christmas – by Holly Hobbie

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18. The Twelve Sleighs of Christmas – by Sherri Duskey Rinker

12 sleighs

19. Apple Tree Christmas – by Trinka Noble

apple tree christmas.jpg

20. The Little Reindeer – by Nicola Killen

little reindeer.jpg

21. Silent Night: The Song and its Story – by Margaret Hodges

silent night

22. Baboushka and the Three Kings – by Ruth Robbins

baboushka

23. Christmas in the Country – by Cynthia Rylant

Christmas in the country

24. There Was No Snow on Christmas Eve – by Pam Muñoz Ryan

no snow on christmas eve

25. This First Christmas Night – by Laura Godwin

first christmas night

 

Picture Books about the Middle Ages: Monks and Monasteries

In the last 15 years or so, there’s been a change in the world of picture books. The picture books that explore history and the lives of famous people have gotten so much better. You can see it in the Caldecott lists, with titles starting to appear such as Henry’s Freedom BoxA River of WordsDave the PotterMe…JaneThe Noisy Paintbox, or Freedom in Congo Square — all books that tell compelling stories while at the same time exploring a particular historical person or event. As both a history buff and a lover of picture books, seeing more of this kind of picture books makes me very happy.

There’s something magical about exploring history through picture books.  Instead of a list of kings and battles and dates, you get a compelling narrative or personal story, complete with illustrations that give the kind of visual cues for the historical setting that are almost impossible to relate solely through words. A well done historical picture book engages the senses and gives a unique window into the time period.

So when I started looking over my 7-year-old son’s history curriculum for this year, I was disappointed with the lack of picture books. We homeschool and our curriculum (Sonlight) relies mainly on A Child’s History of the World and The Usborne Book of World History for its survey of world history. These are both good books, but I thought the experience would be enriched by adding in some well chosen historical picture books along the way.

In this first post, I will share the picture books we used to supplement our study of monks and monasteries during the Middle Ages. I’ll continue with an ongoing series of posts featuring the picture books that align with various periods of history as we study them. Our curriculum for this year covers the rather daunting period of the Middle Ages through World War II. With this large of a time span, it’s obviously going to be a high level survey, with just a few hand picked picture books to go along with each era.

So whether you’re a homeschooler, a teacher, a librarian, or just a parent or care-giver who wants to explore history with the kids, I hope you enjoy diving into this collection of picture books.

Picture Books About the Middle Ages:

Monks and Monasteries

The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane – by C.M. Millen

theophane

This tale follows a plucky young monk named Theophane as he works in the scriptorium of an Irish monastery, copying manuscripts and creating books. Told in lilting verse, and with beautiful stained-glass style illustrations, the story brings to life a number of aspects of bookmaking — making the ink, collecting herbs and berries for color, binding up donkey hair for brushes, etc. My favorite aspect of this particular book was the fact that it incorporated into the text translated quotations of actual poems written by Irish monks in the margins of their manuscripts.

Magic in the Margins – by W. Nikola-Lisa

margins

This story also focuses on a young boy working in the scriptorium of a monastery, but the focus is different than in The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane. Our main character, Simon, is just an apprentice in the scriptorium, and he longs to progress from simple sketches and exercises to being able to fully illuminate pages in the manuscripts. An unusual assignment from the abbot of the monastery leads Simon on a journey of discovery about meaning and imagination in art. This book goes into more depth about the artistic marginalia that monks included in the illuminated margins of their manuscripts than other books I’ve seen.

Saint Francis and the Wolf – by Jane Langton

francis

Set in 12th century Italy, this is the tale of a wolf who terrorizes the town of Gubbio until Saint Francis steps in and brokers peace between the wolf and the town. The charming illustrations are in the style of medieval illuminations and give a good sense for both the dress and the architecture of the time.

curlicue1

{For fellow homeschoolers: this list of books aligns with Week 1 of Sonlight’s Core C}

 

 

Picture Books about Italy

Living in… Italy – by Chloe Perkins

living-in-italy

This slim book introduces us to a young girl who lives in Italy. She takes us through a typical day in her life, introducing us to her family and her lifestyle. Along the way, we discover tidbits about Italian culture and history.

I was so excited to find such an accessible introduction to Italy — most of the books that I browsed through were somewhat overwhelming in their length and the amount of information they incorporated. This one was exactly what I was looking for.

Orani: My Father’s Village – by Claire A. Nivola

orani

This is a stunning memoir in picture book form. The author grew up as an Italian-American in New York City, yet returned to her father’s hometown of Orani (on the island of Sardinia) almost every year to visit relatives. This account of her visits is not only filled with exquisite illustrations, it’s rich in the emotion and experience of straddling two worlds. Her delightful escapades with her cousins left me wishing I’d had Italian relatives to visit as a child as well.

This is Rome – by Miroslav Sasek

this-is-rome

This charming book explores the famous sites in the city of Rome. It opens at the very beginning of Rome’s story — with Romulus, Remus, and the she-wolf — but soon transitions to a walking tour of the modern city. It includes a good bit of back and forth between the history and present, ending a page about the Colosseum with the sentence: “But if you go inside today all you see are cats and tourists and photographers and postcard sellers.” 

I felt somewhat conflicted about this book. While it was the clearest introduction to the city of Rome that I found, it was also published in 1960 and can at times feel a bit dated. The string of names of buildings seemed somewhat dense at times, yet these place names were often broken up with humorous windows into daily life in Rome. All in all, we enjoyed the book and and found the illustrations to be particularly wonderful.

See Inside Great Cities – by Rob Lloyd Jones

see-inside-great-cities

While this book explores cities on many continents, it includes a lovely two-page exploration of the city of Venice. The main illustration is of gondolas travelling along the Grand Canal, but there are also a number of flaps to open that offer information about the city as a whole. I found the information to be helpful and engaging, and the book offered an inspiring introduction to this beautiful city.

 

Other Resources:

Travel with Kids – Venice, Italy

Travel with Kids – Rome, Italy

Are We There Yet? – Italy: Sculptures

Are We There Yet? – Italy: Gladiators

Are We There Yet? – Italy: Leaning Tower

Are We There Yet? – Italy: Soccer

Are We There Yet? Italy: Gondola

 

 

Picture Books about Fish

A Swim Through the Sea – by Kristin Joy Pratt

a swim through the sea.jpg

This lovely book takes an alphabetical approach to life in the sea. From Angelfish to Zebrafish, each page examines a new fish or marine animal, giving the reader a glimpse into the creature’s life and habits. Interesting and informative, this book provides a wonderful introduction to the diversity of life in our oceans.

About Fish: A Guide for Children – by Cathryn Sill

about fish (2).JPG

With delicate illustrations and clear, simple text, this book makes a great introduction to fish — both fresh-water and salt-water.

Life in a Coral Reef – by Wendy Pfeffer

life in a coral reef

With bold, vibrant illustrations (by the inimitable Steve Jenkins), this book examines the inhabitants of coral reefs. It explores the life cycle of the coral itself, as well as the fish, eels, crabs, sea cucumbers, etc. that make their homes in coral reefs. I found it particularly interesting that this book examined coral reefs both in the daytime and at night, showing the different creatures that come out at different times of day.

My Visit to the Aquarium – by Aliki

my visit

This story follows a young boy who visits an aquarium with his younger sister and older brother. The illustrations are detailed, and the various species of fish and marine animals are clearly marked within the illustrations as the boy wanders from exhibit to exhibit. There’s a lot of great information presented in a narrative form in this book, and it would be great coupled with your own visit to an aquarium!

Bubble Homes and Fish Farts – by Fiona Bayrock

bubble homes

This book isn’t solely focused on fish — it examines all kind of animals (mostly marine animals) that use bubbles in some way during their daily life. For instance, there’s a page devoted to the water spider, which uses bubbles to breathe in its underwater web. Another page highlights the way sea otters use bubbles under their fur to stay warm in icy water. My son and I both found this book to be fascinating, and it certainly expanding my knowledge about how animals use bubbles.

Sea Horse: the Shyest Fish in the Sea – by Chris Butterworth

sea horse.jpg

A beautifully illustrated introduction to sea horses — their life cycle and habits, their defensive mechanisms and reproduction. And lots of pictures of cute baby sea horses.

Picture Books about London

We just returned from a delightful, whirlwind trip to London. My 5-year-old son came away particularly impressed with Big Ben and the double-decker buses. I could have stayed all week in the British Museum. In preparation for our trip, we read a number of books about London. Here are a few of our favorites.

A Walk in London – by Salvatore Rubbino

a walk in london

In this beautifully illustrated book, a girl and her mother take a stroll around London. The mother points out important landmarks — Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square — and the duo stops to watch various events along the way, such as the Changing of the Guard and the street entertainers in Covent Garden. There’s a strong narrative flow to their explorations, and each page includes extra information about the site or landmark that can be skipped or read according to the child’s attention span.

This is London – by Miroslav Sasek

this is london

This charming book was written in 1959, and while the facts about the city were updated in 2007, it still communicates the classic, traditional feel of the city in the illustrations. The text isn’t too long, but it explores a number of iconic sites around London.

Look Inside London – by Jonathan Melmoth and Peter Allen

look inside london

Each page of this book has numerous flaps to lift, with hidden pictures and facts underneath each one. The pages explore a number of landmarks around London — from the Tower of London to King’s Cross Station — and the text is informative and engaging. On some pages there are simple stories thrown into the mix — can you find the Queen’s missing dog in Buckingham Palace? — and often lifting the flaps reveal an interesting historical story associated with the site.

Through Time: London – by Richard Platt

london through time

This lovely book explores London’s history, from its Neolithic origins and the Roman conquest all the way up to the London Olympic Games in 2012. The illustrations are detailed, and each 2-page spread shows a different era in the city’s history, whether that be a Viking raid, the Norman invasion, or the Industrial Revolution . The text is fairly lengthy for a picture book and it brings up difficult historical events such as the Plague and the Great London Fire, but it was accessible enough for my 5-year-old to stay engaged with it. I appreciated finding a book that was accessible to kids but could still provide some historical background for our visit.

Picture Books about Sweden

There are some really lovely children’s books by Swedish authors that have been translated into English. Here are a few that we found and loved as we did our unit study on Sweden.

Pancakes for Findus – by Sven Nordqvist

pancakes for findus.jpg

This is the first in a series of books about an eccentric old man and his cat. Their misadventures are fun and humorous, and the story is accompanied by detailed illustrations that add to the humor in the book. It’s one of those books where the humor is found in the combination of the text and the illustrations — there’s not quite enough information in either to get the full joke, but together they’re hilarious.

Children of the Forest – by Elsa Beskow

children of the forest

This sweet story follows a family of little people (they’re about the size of squirrels), as they live out their daily lives in the Swedish forest. Their adventures are intriguing — they ride on bats, kill snakes, and harvest mushrooms for the winter. The illustrations are quaint and charming, and the story is sweet and memorable.

Per and the Dala Horse – by Rebecca Hickox

per and the dala horse

This brightly illustrated retelling of a classic folk tale features three brothers making use of their inheritance, a toy horse that proves useful in unexpected ways, and adventures with trolls.

The Tomten – by Astrid Lindgren

the tomten.jpg

A gentle and charming tale of an old Tomten who watches over the farm when everyone is sleeping. This reminded me a bit of tales of the Brownies and Leprechauns, except that the Tomten is kind and doesn’t get into mischief. The illustrations are lovely, and they show the beauty of the snowy winter landscape.

Lucia Morning in Sweden – by Ewa Rydaker

lucia morning.jpg

This book holds a special place in my heart, because the mother of a friend of mine from growing up was Swedish, and she would lead us in the celebration of St. Lucia Day every year. I have fond memories of getting up early with my friends (after we’d stayed up far too late the night before) and donning a white nightgown and candle-lit crown in order to bring treats and sing to our parents or friends in their beds. This book is a lovely description of the traditions of this festival, and brought back sweet memories for me personally.

The Boy Who Ate More Than the Giant – by Ulf Löfgren

the boy who ate more.jpg

This collection of Swedish folk tales is well told, and features humorous illustrations to go along with the stories. A few of the tales are somewhat gruesome in their details (as traditional folk tales often are), but they’re also very clever and witty.

Longer Read-Alouds:

Swedish Fairy Tales – translated by Holger Lundbergh

swedish fairy tales.jpg

This is a truly beautiful collection of Swedish fairy tales, featuring lovely full-page and full-color illustrations. There are 21 stories in all, by a variety of different authors — including Elsa Beskow and Anna Wahlenberg. The tales feature magicians and mountains, trolls and tomten. The stories are all very readable, and full of a magical richness that’s quite different from the traditional French and English fairy tales that I’m used to.

The Children of Noisy Village – by Astrid Lindgren

children of noisy village.jpg

This lovely chapter book follows the life of 9-year-old Lisa and her siblings and friends as they go to school, celebrate holidays, and get into mischief. It was published in the 1960s, so I’m sure it’s a bit dated, but I loved peeking into the everyday life of these Swedish children. My son loved this book as a read aloud — its descriptions of daily life were intriguing to him, and he wanted to re-enact some of their escapades afterwards.

Pippi Longstocking – by Astrid Lindgren

pippi.jpg

No list of books about Sweden is complete without Pippi Longstocking. This delightful story about a vivacious 9-year-old with superhuman strength who lives on her own and defies all the conventions is such fun to read. My son thought it was hilarious, and while it doesn’t explicitly discuss Swedish culture very much, it’s considered such a classic of childhood in Sweden that I had to include it in our reading.

Other Resources:

Traditional Song of St. Lucia Day

Are We There Yet? (Sweden) –  3 episodes about kids visiting Sweden

10 Good Things to Know about Sweden

Picture Books about Spiders

Arachnids are not among my favorite animals, but my son is fascinated by them. And I do find spider webs to be rather intriguing. I just completed a unit study on spiders with my son, and here are a few of the books that we found to be particularly interesting.

Spiders – by Nic Bishop

spiders

A fascinating overview of various types of spiders, filled with breathtaking photography. The text is engaging and accessible (though it might be a bit long for some kids). I was particularly intrigued by a photograph of a spider molting, the shot taken when it was halfway out of its old skin.

Diary of a Spider – by Doreen Cronin

diary of a spider.jpg

 An amusing story told from the perspective of a young spider. Includes some scientific elements (about spiders’ diets, for instance, or the way they travel through the air on strands of silk), but plenty of anthropomorphic elements as well (spiders attending school, taking vacations, etc.) My son belly laughed all the way through this one.

Spiders – by Gail Gibbons

spiders gibbons.jpg

A great overview of spiders — their life-cycle, the types of webs that different species create, how spinnerets work, etc. The illustrations are charming, and the book features a succinct text that isn’t overwhelming for a young audience.

From Egg to Spider – by Anita Ganeri

from egg to spider.JPG

This book takes a single species of spider (the garden spider) and follows its life-cycle from egg sac to death. Detailed photographs accompany each page.

I’m Trying to Love Spiders – by Bethany Barton

i'm trying to love spiders.jpg

This book provides a humorous and engaging approach to spiders. The narrator tries to convince himself of the importance and value of spiders to the natural world, but he keeps freaking out and squishing spiders along the way. The text is full of interesting tidbits about spiders, and the illustrations are quite fun.

A House Spider’s Life – by John Himmelman

a house spider's life.jpg

This lovely book follows the life-cycle of a single spider, examining its diet and web building in a gentle and accessible way. The illustrations are both lovely and detailed.

 

 

 

Picture Books with Imaginary Worlds

Some of my favorite picture books are the ones that feature strange and beautiful new worlds that can be reached only through the imagination. Not only do these books spark the imagination and encourage creativity, they seem like metaphors for the act of reading itself. Only in books can we travel to so many worlds in a single lifetime. Here are a few of the picture books that stand out in my mind for the amazing imaginary worlds they present.

Beyond the Pond – by Joseph Kuefler

beyond the pond (2)

A young boy explores the pond near his house and discovers a fantastical imaginary world beneath its depths. This is one of those books that really sparks the imagination and makes you look at the world around you in a new and expectant way.

Pool – by JiHyeon Lee

pool.jpg

In this lovely wordless picture book, a young boy dives deep into the pool to avoid the crowd of noisy people at the surface. The world he discovers (and the friend he makes) in the depths of the pool defy the rules of predictability.

The Whisper – by Pamela Zagarenski

the whisper.jpg

A girl brings home a magical picture book, but all the words fall out along the way home. She discovers that she can make up the stories in her own imagination. This book is written in such a way that it encourages the reader to finish an uncompleted story on each page. My son was hesitant at first, but ended up thoroughly enjoying making up his own ending for the various stories. The book features amazing illustrations as well.

Flotsam – by David Wiesner

flotsam

A boy collects flotsam from a beach at low tide. When he discovers an underwater camera washed up on the shore, he’s unprepared for the magical discoveries he’ll find locked within it. Each page is richly illustrated, and the unexpected details in this wordless picture book are delightful.

Sebastian and the Balloon – by Philip C. Stead

sebastian and the balloon.jpg

Sebastian is bored, so he makes a balloon out of his grandmother’s quilts and afghans, and sails away into clouds. He meets some wonderful characters along the way — a lumbering bear, a tall bird with a long beak, and three elderly sisters who introduce him to a ramshackle roller coaster.

This is Sadie – by Sara O’Leary

this is sadie.jpg

This beautiful story shows a day in the life of an imaginative girl named Sadie — the worlds she visits and adventures she has within her mind over the course of a day. We see a cardboard box becoming a ship at sea, and the friends she makes within the pages of a book. My son loved this book, and wanted to read it again as soon as we finished it.

Journey and Quest – by Aaron Becker

Both of these beautifully illustrated wordless picture books feature children who find themselves on adventures in fantastical worlds, armed only with crayons whose drawings can become real. My son loves to tell me the stories of their adventures as we flip through the pages.

Picture Books about Spring

The snow has melted, the ground is muddy, and the flowers are starting to bloom. It’s time to pull out the picture books about Spring! Here are a few of our favorites:

Finding Spring – by Carin Berger

finding spring.jpg

A young bear named Maurice should be hibernating, but he wants to find Spring first. He explores the wintry landscape of the forest, searching for Spring and asking various animals about it. When he discovers the first snow, he thinks he has found Spring at last, and decides to go to sleep. After his long sleep, he wakes up to discover what Spring really is. This sweet book has paper-cut illustrations that are both charming and eye-catching, and made for a lovely read-aloud.

When Spring Comes – by Kevin Henkes

when spring comes.jpg

Kevin Henkes is well known for his sweet and gentle stories for children, and this book is no exception. With concise text and bold illustrations, the book tells the story of Spring’s arrival — from melting snowmen to hatching eggs and sprouting seedlings.

And Then it’s Spring – by Julie Fogliano

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The story is a simple one — a young boy and his dog plant seeds and then wait expectantly until the brown landscape turns green. But the illustrations make this simple story into something exceptional. On each page, there are surprises to find in the illustrations, and the humor that shows through is both wry and genuine. My son loved the illustrations — particularly of the dog who tries to “plant” his bone — and he begged for me to read it again as soon as we closed it. It’s a favorite of mine as well. The sense of both expectation and wonder that come with the change of seasons shine through beautifully in this book.

Abracadabra, it’s Spring! – by Anne Sibley O’Brien

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If you’ve ever thought that the change of seasons seemed magical, then this is a book for you. The motif of this “magic” of changing seasons is taken seriously in this book — on each page there’s a magic word (“abracadabra,” “open sesame,” “bibbity bop,” etc.) and then the reader can lift a flap and find out what magical event has occurred. For instance, my favorite page is “Buds on branches tightly curl. Alizebu! Leaves unfurl.” The illustrations are bright and beautiful, the text has a lovely rhythm and rhyme to it, and overall it’s a wonderfully atmospheric springtime read.

It’s Spring! – by Linda Glaser

it's spring.jpg

A young boy describes his experience of spring, as each day changes and brings new discoveries. First he realizes that he can go outside in lighter clothing, then the creeks and streams start rushing — eventually the days grow longer and the birds appear. The paper cut-out illustrations are lovely, and the back of the book includes a list of springtime activities for children to do.

Mud – by Mary Lyn Ray

mud

Springtime in our part of the country involves a lot of mud, so I was glad to find a spring-themed picture book that celebrated this aspect of the season as well! Complete with bold illustrations, this book conveys a young girl’s delight in seeing the snow melt and playing in the squishy mud that follows.

 Additional Resources:

Picture Books about Amphibians

Picture Books about Birds

Picture Books about Butterflies

Picture Books about Butterflies

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

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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

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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

bright and beautiful.jpg

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

crinkleroots

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

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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

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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

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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

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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.