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WAITING FOR WINGS by Lois Ehlert Kirkus Star


by Lois Ehlert & illustrated by Lois Ehlert

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-15-202608-8
Publisher: Harcourt

With each spread opening to an explosion of bright, gorgeous color, Ehlert (Market Day, 2000, etc.) takes a close-up look at the life stages of four butterflies, all of which are seen amidst a profusion of the plant life on which they subsist. Several shorter split pages, lining up with the stems and flowers on the standard-sized pages add extra measures of suspense and surprise as the author tracks her subjects' physical changes. The next set includes long, narrow pages that follow the flight to the flower garden. There, readers will need sunglasses to view the extravagantly hued varieties of butterfly-attracting flowers. Finished with the story, fanciers will find two pages on identification, more detailed descriptive information, and advice about starting a butterfly garden. (But don't remove those sunglasses.) Unfortunately, the main text—a singsong jingle—doesn't measure up to the eye-popping art. In order to serve the rhyme, Ehlert repeatedly has her butterflies "eat" nectar, even though, as explained in the appendix, they actually drink it—but this still makes a riveting introduction to the science and (visually at least) the poetry of these splendidly attired insects. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-7)