summertime book of the week…a see-through butterfly

glasswings a butterfly's story cover imageGlasswings: A Butterfly’s Story, written and illustrated by Elisa Kleven

This is the story of a tiny butterfly named Claire.

Claire lives happily with her family among acres of brilliantly colored flowers, fluttering about, daintily sipping nectar, soaring on breezes.  That sounds like a typical butterfly life, I suppose, but…

…there are two unusual things about Claire.glasswings a butterfly's story illustration elisa kleven

One is that her wings are a bit like Cinderella’s slippers — they appear to be made of glass! Perfectly transparent, Claire’s clear wings  allow whatever she alights on to shine right through! Stupendous!

The other is that Claire accidentally rides the wind far, far from home, and winds up in the midst of a giant city. Lost.

Fortunately for Claire, she meets some friends soon after arrival — a pigeon, a ladybug, and an ant. This little crew is eager for Claire to hang out with them, and they usher her to a spot with flowers so she can drink some nourishment.

The spot happens to be a scraggly, skimpy, unloved, empty lot. As Claire slurps up nectar, though, fluttering from flower to flower, the pollen she carries with her works its magic, and soon glasswing-butterfly from all-that-is-interesting dot coma wild tangle of beautiful grasses and flowers burgeons in the space. Her friends help in this natural garden by scattering seeds, gobbling pests, and tilling the soil in their own small ways until it’s a glorious, beautiful place.

Claire loves her new flower garden and her new friends. But what can she do about her family she misses so much? Don’t worry — that’s about to end happily as well.

This sparkling story is based on a real species of butterfly, native to Central and South America, called Glasswinged butterflies. Lacking colored scales, their wings are perfectly transparent. How surprising! Mixing in a dash of the important work of pollination and pest control done by tiny creatures such as butterflies and ladybugs, Elise Kleven has spun a delightful story that entertains and by-the-way informs.

I have long admired Kleven’s work, and we have enjoyed many of her other books through the years. Her artwork is like a blast of confetti, a swirl of cotton candy, a spangled glasswings a butterfly's story illustration2 elisa kleventizzy of life and beauty and exuberance. It’s happy, it’s breezy, it’s a blast of sunshine and I feel glad just looking at it.

So, I immediately gravitated towards this new title of hers, and was thoroughly charmed. Included is an author’s note about Glasswing butterflies and a photograph of one. It’s a delightful, summery choice for preschoolers and up.

Here’s the Amazon link:
Glasswings: A Butterfly’s Story