Ten Magic Butterflies – by Danica McKellar, illustrated by Jennifer Bricking

  Ten Magic Butterflies – by Danica McKellar, illustrated by Jennifer Bricking, Crown Books for Young Readers, (9781101933824), 2018.

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Rating: 1-5:  (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre: Math

What did you like about the book? In this gentle introduction to math, ten brightly-colored flower friends wish they could fly like the fairies. A dark-skinned fairy grants their wishes by transforming them one at a time into butterflies.  They enjoy their mobility at first, but by the next day, wish to return to their life as flowers. Again, the kind-hearted fairy grants their wish. The transformations are used as an opportunity to point out that there are different ways to make up ten, “1 butterfly flew as / 9 flowers looked on. / There were still 10 of them / in the sky, on the lawn.” There are cleverly engaging touches in the illustrations. Several of the flowers display distinct personalities, both in the lines they speak and their appearance. Watch especially for the pudgy caterpillar who adoringly observes the activities on each page until it achieves its own transformation. Fantasy and reality intersect near the end where a little dreaming girl who looks like the fairy clutches a stuffed caterpillar; a doll that resembles both the girl and the fairy sits on her nightstand. At the end, McKellar addresses caregivers to suggest methods for inspiring children to enjoy math and to provide activities to use with the book. Even the end pages contribute by displaying sample ten-frames made up of various flower/butterfly combinations.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  A few of the rhyming lines did not scan well when read aloud.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Use with youngsters pre-K to grade 1.

Who should buy this book? Preschools, elementary school libraries, and public libraries, especially those looking to increase their offerings on the topic of math.

Where would you shelve it?  Shelve with picture books.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes, if you work with or read to this age group.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Mary Melaugh, Marshall Middle School Library, Billerica, MA

Date of review:  2/25/18

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