Looking at the jeweled illustrations of Elisa Kleven, author and illustrator of this beautiful book, reminds me of peering through a kaleidescope. No matter which way you turn, or on which area you focus, new patterns of gorgeous colors reveal themselves to you.
This story tells what happens when Claire, a Glasswing butterfly (one with transparent wings), gets carried away from her family one day on a strong burst of wind. At first she is scared and lonely, but then she meets some new friends (a ladybug, a pigeon, and an ant) who guide her to an empty lot with flowers so she can eat:
“Day after day, Claire fluttered among the flowers, sipping their nectar, carrying their sticky yellow pollen from plant to plant, helping new flowers to grow.”
Kleven also describes the ways in which Claire’s friends help the new little ecosystem thrive. But still, Claire misses her family. Then one day, a group of Glasswings circles overhead, drawn by the big patch of color in Claire’s new garden. It is Claire’s family, and they have been looking for her. They swoop down, taking on the colors of the flowers behind them, and much joy ensues at the reunion.
Evaluation: This story provides a lovely way to impart information about how biological communities work, and in particular the role played by Glasswing butterflies. But the real value of this book is in the stunning mixed-media illustrations. They teem with color and texture and detail, and will provide children with hours of delight trying to identify all the hidden delights in each picture.
Note: I got this book from the library, and had to wait for ages for it. An Elisa Kleven book is always a coveted object!
Published by Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2013