Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Place for butterflies

A Place for butterflies

Melissa Stewart
Illustrator:  Higgins Bond 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 10
Peachtree Publishers, 2006   ISBN: 1561453579

Most of us love to watch butterflies flit around our gardens, parks, and wild places. Their beauty and delicacy captivates us, and over the centuries artists, writers, poets, and musicians have been inspired by them to create paintings, poems, and pieces of music. What many of us forget is that butterflies, like all animals, have certain needs. If these needs are not met the butterflies will disappear. It is up to us to do what we can to make sure that butterflies have the food, the shelter, the habitats, and the clean environment that they need.

By highlighting the plight of twelve American butterfly species, the author of this book shows her readers how we humans can adversely affect butterfly species if we are not careful.

The Mourning Cloak is a butterfly which feeds on tree sap and the juices of rotting fruit. So many forests around the United States have been destroyed to make way for buildings that these lovely butterflies are in danger. If we preserve forests then we preserve the animals that depend on them.

The lovely Monarch butterfly needs milkweed plants which the female butterflies lay their eggs on. All too often farmers get rid of milkweed plants because cows get sick when they eat them. If farmers leave the plants which are growing outside the grazing areas alone, then the monarch butterflies will continue to flourish.

In this inspiring and beautifully presented book the author not only tells us what is threatening butterfly species but she also tells us what we can do to protect them. She describes how people like us have done their part to save these beautiful animals and thus, though her book has its measure of warnings, it also is full of hope for the future. At the end of her narrative the author includes a section on how important butterflies are for plants and animals, and what we can do to create habitats for them in our own yards and gardens.

Throughout the book stunning paintings show the habitats of butterflies and in each one readers can see what the male, the female, and the caterpillar of each of the twelve butterfly species mentioned look like.