Friday, September 21, 2012

A Book to Celebrate Fall: Butterfly Tree

Butterfly Tree
By Sandra Markle; illustrated by Leslie Wu
32 pages, ages 4 – 8
Peachtree Publishers, 2011

This weekend marks the beginning of fall. From here on the days grow shorter – at least on this half of the earth. Down under, days are getting longer. Down under is where Sandra Markle lives, a wonderful writer and author of Butterfly Tree.

Perhaps you’ve noticed the Monarch butterflies – they’ve been all over my garden sipping nectar from the flowers and getting ready to hit the road… the skyway of migration. Too soon they’ll be gone, heading south to Mexico. It’s a long journey, too far to fly at one stretch. So they’ll have to make a few rest stops on the way.

And that’s what Markle writes about…. A magical moment when a young girl and her mother discover Monarchs just hanging out. The story begins one afternoon in early September, when Jilly sees something way out over Lake Erie. It looks like it’s raining black pepper from a clear blue sky, but as it comes closer it becomes a shimmery orange cloud. Is it smoke from a faraway fire, she wonders? Or the breath of a dragon?

Jilly and her mom follow the mysterious cloud into the woods, dark and deep. They find a tree covered with orange leaves that, when disturbed, explode in a flutter of wings. It’s Monarch butterflies; hundreds of them.

Markle writes a warm memory of a mother and daughter  - and a dog named Fudge - exploring nature. For us nature geeks she includes a map and resources at the back. This is a great book to share for the season.

The illustrations are every bit as wonderful as the story. Leslie Wu’s paintings have a soft, dream-like quality that evokes “memories”. 
Check out other "Fall" science books and resources at STEM Friday. Review copy provided by publisher. And check out Sandra Markle's fun science blog.

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