A child newly arrived from the country is dismayed to discover that the pocket park next to her urban building is, despite its name, lacking butterflies.
What to do? Even the butterflies that she, with help from neighboring children, captures and brings to the sterile-looking park flutter away immediately…except for one, which leads her and a growing group of city residents through the streets to a small patch of flowers. Of course! The next day everyone shows up at the park with “boots and gnomes and wagons”—and in time, as revealed in a climactic double gatefold bedizened with blooms as well as winged and human visitors, the butterflies come. Centered on the park’s elaborate art nouveau gateway, MacKay’s lyrical paper collage and diorama constructs feature layered details and out-of-focus backgrounds for a sense of depth. Brightly patterned butterflies, delicate flowers, and human figures pose like gracefully off-balance dancers. As the atmosphere is, overall, ethereal (underscored by occasional close-ups of the girl’s elfin features and abstracted gaze), this is more a visually poetic tale about bringing nature to the city than a practical blueprint for creating a crowd-sourced flower garden. Still, like Kevin Henkes’ My Garden (2010), it may spur young readers to green dreams of their own—and the jacket does offer a labeled gallery of butterfly-attracting blooms.
Worthy of theme and equally pleasing to the eye and the spirit. (Picture book. 5-8)