Eleven-year-old Kirby records close observations of butterflies made in her grandparents' Charleston, South Carolina, backyard during a summer vacation that is as good as a safari.
Kirby’s grandparents have saved their butterfly-garden project for Kirby’s three-month visit. Together, they stock it with appropriate host plants and nectar flowers. At first there seem to be no results. Kirby practices with her new camera; her grandmother helps. They visit other likely habitats and a nearby butterfly garden. When caterpillars appear, Kirby’s ready. For the rest of the summer, Kirby and her friends observe and photograph the butterflies and occasional other insects they find in the backyard. Her grandparents provide background, beginning with body parts and going on through classification, identification, the food web, and survival strategies. Kirby makes notes on her oversized journal pages and adds color photographs. She documents the complete metamorphosis of a Gulf fritillary, as well as a monarch emerging from its chrysalis. A short entry about habitat conservation concludes the instructive portion of her journal, but a few more entries reveal this eager observer’s continued enthusiasm. This gentle story is the framework for a great deal of information, some of which, Kirby says, she learned in school, but is understandable in the context of her own explorations.
This pseudo-journal makes a clever invitation to a possible lifetime passion. (index) (Informational picture book. 9-12)