Discouraged by the caterpillars eating the dandelion leaves he worked so hard to grow in his first adventure (Nibbles, 2010), Nibbles and his new neighbor, Posie, decide to keep them as pets.
The two guinea pigs make a hysterical list of the things they might need to care for their six new charges and then consult Mr. Rosetti, who knows everything. He sets them straight (caterpillars do not need ping-pong balls to play soccer) and provides them with clean jars for a habitat. The two love their caterpillars and enjoy watching them grow. But they are mystified when, one day, the pets suddenly disappear. The duo makes “Lost” posters to hang around town, but no one has seen the caterpillars anywhere. But then Mr. Rosetti e-mails a request that they bring the jars to his café. When he unscrews the tops, six beautiful butterflies emerge. Nibbles and Posie make new “Found” posters, which are such a hit they get hung in the town art gallery. Middleton’s mixed-media artwork is a visual feast of patterns in the backgrounds and clothing; each caterpillar, too, is distinct. The drawings that Nibbles and Posie make of the caterpillars and, later, the butterflies, are childishly and endearingly rendered.
While this lacks the science found in many other caterpillar-to-butterfly titles, it has a charm that cannot be replicated. (Picture book. 3-6)