An Extraordinary Ordinary Moth

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We all want to stand out from the crowd. More often than not, though, we are our own worst critic. This can be considered the premise of author Karlin Gray’s newest picture book, An Extraordinary Ordinary Moth.

In the book, a shy, self-deprecating, ordinary moth compares its “dusty, grayish, nothing-special” life against other, more spectacular moths. It admits to being nothing like the gracefully green Luna Moth, or the flashy, Halloween-ish Spider Moth. It can’t even make itself look like bird dung, like the Wood Nymph Moth.

The woefully humble little moth feels quite unappreciated…until a young boy spies it and begins to celebrate its uniqueness with his skeptical sister. The boy tells his sister that the moth’s “gray dust look” is actually crafty scales that keep him warm at night; his antennae are so powerful they can smell for miles; and his body is especially designed to help him escape spider webs.

When the little moth hears this, he is flushed with pride because he is special after all!

This is a sweet little book about moths that can double as a pick-me-up for any child who isn’t feeling special at the moment. Just as the boy does with the moth, young picture book readers are encouraged to take a second look at themselves and their own qualities to discover just how different — and wonderful — they truly are.

Thanks to author Karlin Gray, the little moth delights readers by laying out the details of its life in playful rhyme. The vocabulary is perfect for ages 4 to 8, and illustrator Steliyana Doneva’s lovely portrait-paintings offer a lush and detailed look at insect life and color patterns.

Use this book in Science class to open a discussion about insects and observation skills. It is also a great book to open a discussion about self-love, character, and what talents and qualities each person has to offer to society.

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