In this illustrated kids’ book, a dark storm disrupts the garden animals’ idyllic lives, leaving an injured butterfly wondering how to go on.
A group of animals—a yellow butterfly, a bluebird family, a pair of squirrels, two wasps, and other fauna—enjoy their peaceful lives in a beautiful, sunny garden. Then a storm arrives and wreaks havoc on their world. Cyclones, torrential rain, and dark clouds roll through, damaging the waterfall, breaking branches on the apple tree, and dotting the garden with trash from area homes. The animals are scared and sad as they survey the damage, but they’re all most upset when they realize that the yellow butterfly’s two wings were injured during the storm. As they show concern for him, he says, “This is a ‘why me?’ day.” Each subsequent page and colorful illustration tracks the butterfly as he has similar thoughts: when the animals begin to clean the garden, it’s a “cleanup day”; when the butterfly worries he won’t ever fly again, he’s having a “challenging day.” But after the butterfly thinks of making a kaleidoscope with his garden friends, he eventually summons the strength to fly again, with the book ending on a positive note. Diaz explores themes of loss and coping through her garden metaphor, which makes these themes more accessible to young readers. Indeed, the second section of the book helps explain what happened in the text and offers questions that parents or teachers can ask children about the story to help them understand their own feelings of fear, sadness, anger, and hope: “What do you think the butterflies, animals, and insects felt before the storm? During the storm? After the storm?” She also describes metaphors in the text, such as the garbage scattered around the garden, which “provides a symbolic representation of things or thoughts that a child may want or need help recycling, reframing, or getting rid of to allow him or her to move from trauma to recovery.” Overall, the relatable butterfly gives an important life lesson by turning tragedy into beauty—something readers young and old should appreciate.
An accessible animal story that helps kids understand their difficult feelings.