Did you know butterflies have a secret life? They do, and you can learn all about it in author Roger Vila’s oversized new picture book, The Secret Life of Butterflies.
The book opens to some stunning facts: butterflies don’t just live ONE life like most living things; they live FOUR. They can survive being frozen for months at a time, they can disguise themselves as leaves, twigs or even other animals, they can see colors we cannot even imagine, and they can feel the magnetism of the earth. How is that for an introduction? Butterflies have “noses” all over their bodies (on their antennae, their legs, and the tip of their abdomen); they can fly THREE DIFFERENT WAYS (flapping their wings, hovering, and gliding), and at least one species of butterfly (the skippers) can fly at speeds of 37 miles per hour!
The book is well structured and includes a page on butterfly families, a compare/contrast page on butterflies vs. moths, a section on what butterflies eat, a quick look at butterfly eggs, and even a cozy little butterfly love story (pages 28-29). Author Roger Vila’s prose is straightforward and informative, but is in no way sterile or overly academic. He writes in a conversational and approachable way that will help students enjoy the many things they will learn in the book.
Artist Rena Ortega’s illustrations are simply stunning, and full of color and movement, especially those on pages 10-11 where the reader is given an up-close-and-personal view of the beautiful butterfly “through a magnifying glass.” There are just so many reasons to choose this book for your elementary class, including the fact that it can double as a science subject as well as independent reading. It can be used in art classes, or before or during a class outing to a nature walk.
This one is a keeper! Enjoy.