My favorite reading challenge is Kid Lit Frenzy’s Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge. Visit Alyson’s blog to discover more wonderful nonfiction titles.
Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long have collaborated on a series of gorgeous picture books that are perfect for the budding naturalist. I thought my son and I had read all of them, and then I happened upon A Butterfly Is Patient at the library, and it is just as wonderful as all the other books in the series. What first drew me to these books are the illustrations. Long fills the page with vivid examples of the subject under consideration.
The first book in the series that I read was An Egg Is Quiet. How can you resist a spread like this?
Or this, from A Rock Is Lively.
And if eggs and seeds and rocks can be this gorgeous, I couldn’t wait to see what Long would do with butterflies. I wanted to frame most of the pictures.
Obviously the art is a huge part of the appeal of this series, but Aston’s words are really equally gorgeous. Each spread offers a statement of what a butterfly is–creative, spectacular, patient–and a detailed explanation of what creativity or patience means when it comes to butterflies. Aston writes about nature so poetically using such rich language and fluid sentences: the prose provides a strong, though ambitious, mentor text for student writers. Aston never loses sight of the purpose of the book, which is to share information. We learn about butterfly life cycles, food preferences, defenses against predators, migration patterns, and more.
The only negative I can see in this series is that there is no back matter with resources, author’s notes, glossaries, etc.
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