Caterpillars and Butterflies – Oh My!


Summer’s here, and the Woodside Library (3140 Woodside Road) is hosting storytimes for small groups of children aged 5 to 10 years, centered around food activities and stories. Sign up is required for the 15 spaces, and parents are welcome to accompany their children.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThe Very Hungry Caterpillar comes crawling in...

Of course, we have to start with The Very Hungry Caterpillar, the appealing Eric Carle story of a voracious eater on Saturday, June 22 from 3 to 3:45 pm. Concentrating on caterpillar books for very young listeners, I’d suggest:

For K-2 classrooms?

I’m impressed by Anna Milbourne’s The Butterfly, focusing a lot on the caterpillar stage. Butterfly House by Eve Bunting has a more sophisticated story line about the life cycle, and even an end page with instructions on “How to Raise a Butterfly.”

Butterfly, Butterfly by Petr Horáček

For color and beauty

Check out Butterfly, Butterfly by graphic designer Petr Horacek or the photographs in The Butterfly Alphabet by Kjell B. Sandved.

Arts-related ideas

Woodside Library craft activities will be edible, but the simplicity of the bilingual edition of Let’s Draw a Butterfly with Circles is appealing (bilingual; also in Spanish.) For art activities with more steps, 123 I Can Make Prints seems do-able with the cutest caterpillar on the cover!

Isabel's House Of Butterflies by Tony Johnston

Cross-cultural butterfly stories for clever listeners

Isabel’s House of Butterflies has Spanish phrases as Tony Johnston’s poignant tale tells of a struggling family in Michoacan, Mexico where the monarch butterflies migrate. Butterflies on Carmen Street is a bilingual book told from the viewpoint of a Hispanic girl; her school project is to raise a caterpillar to butterfly stage and release it to fly south to her grandparents’ home region in Mexico.

Coyote and the Laughing Butterflies, based on a Tewa Indian legend, features colorful painted fabric illustrations in a charming counterpoint to a mischievous tale.

Butterflies for Kiri has a butterfly theme, but it touches on origami, art, creativity and persistence for an Asian American girl. (Note to readers: origami butterflies are hard; the many folds take a fair amount of patient practice!)

Velma Gratch & The Way Cool Butterfly by Alan Madison

Local color and story

Leo Politi’s 1957 classic called The Butterflies Come tells of the monarch butterflies of Pacific Grove, just outside of Monterey.

For unsure first graders, Velma Gratch & The Way Cool Butterfly is all about becoming your own person through metamorphosis.

Lastly, I’m mesmerized by the beautiful illustrations in Glasswings: A Butterfly’s Story by Elisa Kleven. Of all the books mentioned, this is the only title San Mateo County Library has not yet acquired, but you can use the LINK+ catalog to obtain a library copy free from outside the county if you have a county library card or a Redwood City Library card. (It’s a great service.)

Special Workshop

If you’re intrigued by caterpillars and butterflies, do come to Woodside Library’s workshop on “What Do Butterflies Eat?” for pre-schoolers 3 to 5 years old on Monday, July 8 at 11 am.


Author Bio:

Karen Y. was impressed by the plethora of butterfly picture books available so wonderfully illustrating metamorphosis.

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