The butterfly garden by Michael Torres

cover image

Illus. by Fern Martins. Magabala Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781925936995.
(Age: 2-5) Themes: Board book, Caterpillars. The butterfly garden is a fun and cheeky introduction to the life cycle of a caterpillar. The illustrations are bright and vivid and the butterflies feature bleeding tie-dyed colours that highlight the powdery nature of their wings. White and green backgrounds and yellow detail are used to great effect, making the sparse illustrations really pop off the page. There are also some interesting and effective techniques used to create a sense of movement and the passing of time. Another page uses an extreme close up of the kookaburra to show the caterpillar's reflection in his eyes. The story itself is about a hungry kookaburra eyeing off a fat caterpillar. 'That's my brother. You can't eat him' says a nearby butterfly. The kookaburra won't believe it; they look nothing alike! 'He will soon' says the butterfly, and they watch as the caterpillar wriggles off to build a cocoon and crawl inside. The kookaburra thinks he is being tricked so he waits and waits and to his surprise out comes a handsome (a nice change from beautiful) butterfly. There is a nod to dreaming stories here as well, with the ending explaining how the kookaburra got its laugh. This is a great concept and the illustrations are fantastic but unfortunately the text falls just a little flat.
Nicole Nelson