An unusual butterfly book introduces facts about the insects, portrays 24 different species, gives the word for “butterfly” in 27 languages other than English, and counts up from zero to 25.
While the numeration provides the organization, this is far more than a counting book. Beginning with the fact that there are no butterflies in Antarctica, the author goes on to surprise readers with a spread of 20 colorful moths, highlighting the confusing similarities between the two species, although not explaining their actual differences. Then the proper count begins, with each page presenting a different species, an interesting fact and a word for “butterfly” in another language, including Mandarin, Finnish, Navajo, Tagalog and sign. From one to 10, each species is also a different solid color; Nos. 11 through 19 are multicolored, and the 20th shows eggs. Then there’s a surprise: 21 different caterpillars. To finish, there are chrysalises and more butterflies. The counting, particularly in the larger groups, takes enough effort to make this interesting to the likely audience. The facts feel arbitrarily presented but they are accurate, and the illustrations, done with colored pencil and digitally manipulated, are colorful and true-to-life. Sadly, there’s no index.
This welcome reworking of the author’s earlier Butterfly Counting Book (1998) and board book Butterfly Colors and Counting (2013) offers learning opportunities galore. (Informational picture book. 4-7)