The Truth About Butterflies –  Maxwell Eaton III

The Truth About Butterflies –  Maxwell Eaton III. Roaring Brook Press, 2020. 9781250232533

Format: Hardcover

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

 Genre: Nonfiction

 What did you like about the book?  This is a fun, and funny, overview of the characteristics and life stages of butterflies, part of the series “Seriously Funny Facts About Your Favorite Animals.”  A young scientist and a cat lead readers through basic facts and information on the variety of butterfly species, the differences between butterflies and moths, and the many ways butterflies use their wings.  While we are introduced to many species through the opening pages, the author focuses on the monarch to explain the four stages of metamorphosis, as well as migration.  A brief description of the threat humans pose to butterfly species is followed by different ways readers can help.

Information is provided in several different formats – traditional text is enhanced by brightly colored text boxes that caption some illustrations, diagrams are carefully labeled, and some of the creatures share information via speech bubble.   This can be somewhat overwhelming, as every page spread is chock-full of these text features as well as various pop-ups from the hungry cat looking for a snack, and other creatures (birds and predatory animals, as well as the monarchs) making silly comments.  The author doesn’t shy away from jokes about the word pupa, and sharing that ‘frass’ is a word meaning caterpillar poop, but he also handles the page on mating quite tactfully: “A few hours after finding each other, the female flies off to lay eggs.”

Anything you did not like about the book?  The backmatter is slight – two book recommendations each for ‘larva’ and ‘adults.’ I would think there would be some great websites young entomologists would like to see.

 To whom would you recommend this book? Fans of other books in the series will like this new installment, and it’s a good nonfiction choice for 2nd and 3rd grade kids who gravitate toward comics like Captain Underpants or Dog Man.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it?  Nonfiction – 595.78

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  no

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Leigh Russell King, Lincoln Street School, Northborough, Massachusetts.

Date of review: 9/17/2020

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