Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Bird, Butterfly, Eel

Bird, Butterfly, Eel

James Prosek
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Simon and Schuster, 2009   ISBN: 978-0689868290

It is summer and on the farm the bird, a swallow, skims over the pond where the eel lives “below the lilies.” In a meadow nearby the monarch butterfly sips nectar from a flower. The bird has built a nest of mud and straw high up in the rafters of the barn where she and her chicks are safe and where the barn cats can’t reach them.

   While the bird is feeding her chicks, the butterfly lays her eggs on milkweed plants. It is not long before the eggs hatch and the caterpillars begin eating and growing. In the pond the eel is eating and “storing up energy for her long swimming journey ahead.”

   As summer slips away, the bird’s chicks grow and leave the nest. The butterfly’s young make the transformation from caterpillars into beautiful butterflies. The eel is ready for the next stage in her life. As it gets cooler and the days get shorter, the eel, the butterfly and the bird get restless. It is time to leave their summer home.

   The swallow and her babies leave the barn and start flying southwest. The butterfly is lifted on the winds and she too goes south, as the eel leaves her pond and swims downstream to the wide ocean.

   In this wonderful picture book the stories of three animal species is told. We follow them as they leave their home on a farm near the mouth of Long Island Sound, as they travel long distances to warm places where they spend the winter months before they, or their young, journey back to the farm. A map shows the path that the three animals take.

   At the back of the book readers will find out more information about barn swallows, monarch butterflies and American eels.