Butterflies On The First Day Of School (Annie Silvestro)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Butterflies On The First Day Of School, written by Annie Silvestro and illustrated by Dream Chen, a charming tale of back-to-school jitters.

Rosie is utterly eager for her first day of school: she’s practiced writing her name and raising her hand, picked out her first backpack, and learned her teacher’s name. But on the eve of the big day, she suddenly feels uneasy, and the morning of, she seems to be looking for any excuse to stay home. Her mother simply hugs her: “You just have butterflies in your belly,” she explains. Boarding the school bus and approached by a friendly girl named Violet, Rosie offers her name – and is stunned to see a butterfly slip out of her mouth with the word! Indeed, each time Rosie opens up and talks to a new classmate or her teacher, butterflies – which only she can see – flit out of her mouth and escape into the sky. And with each butterfly fluttering off, Rosie’s confidence begins to grow, and new friendships and experiences are forged; she even finds the courage to help another shy little girl with butterflies of her own.

Wonderful. Updating the classic “butterflies” metaphor, the warm and gentle story gives a clever analogy for its remedy: opening up to others to let the butterflies out. Rosie’s trepidation and eventual ease into comfort and confidence feel incredibly universal, and the moment of helping another to come out of their shell encourages empathy and kindness. There’s even a subtle and touching moment at the end hinting that even grown-ups can get butterflies, especially on their little ones’ first day of school. Chen’s stylized illustrations are gorgeous, filled with color, movement, and emotion, and fit the tone of the story to a T. The length was great, and JJ loved the butterflies and expressive artwork. This will be a perfect story to help little bookworms concur their fears, especially come August. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Butterfly Park (Elly MacKay)

Hello, friends! Our book today is the gorgeous Butterfly Park by Elly MacKay, a joyful story of a little girl and her love for butterflies bringing a town together.

A little girl is moving to a new town and is sad to leave her country home, especially the beautiful butterflies that live there. Moving to a house in the city, she feels lost at first – until she finds that she lives next to a Butterfly Park! When she visits the garden the next day, she finds that there are no butterflies in barren park. She goes searching, and find one in a neighbor boy’s yard. She asks for his help to catch it and bring it to the garden, but when they release it, it flies away. Enlisting more neighborhood children, they capture more butterflies, only to have them fly away as well. The kids begin to follow the last remaining butterfly, chasing it through town and attracting a parade of amused onlookers. At last, the butterfly leads them to a garden and the girl realizes her mistake: butterflies are attracted to flowers! She returns to the park with flowers, but still no butterflies arrive – until the park is suddenly filled with the townspeople, who happily help the girl build a flower garden that attracts her beloved bugs.

This was a wonderfully sweet story, filled with a guileless innocence that captures a feeling of childhood awe. But the absolute star of the show here are the gorgeous paper-cut illustrations, arranged and captured using tilt-shift photography, that give the art of the book a positively magical air. The reader can practically feel the movement, energy, and warmth of the characters within a three-dimensional space, and it’s really quite beautiful. The length was good as well, and JJ enjoyed it. This is a genuine feast for the eyes paired with a charming story about community, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!