Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Children’s Book Review, Butterfly, We’re Expecting You!

Reviewed by Susan Stephenson,

Butterfly, We’re Expecting You! is a children’s picture book written by Libby Hathorn, illustrated by Lisa Stewart, and published by Lothian (Hachette) (2018.) RRP: $Au 14.99 PB. I have previously reviewed Hathorn’s A Soldier, A Dog and a Boy which made it to my Top Children’s Picture Books 2017, and Incredibilia which made it to my Top Children’s Picture Books of 2016.

From the publisher:

Come explore your backyard. Who knows what you'll find? A butterfly, a frog, a bird . . . maybe even a dinosaur!

A sweet and gentle story that feels as warm as a garden bathed in sunlight, from award-winning author Libby Hathorn and acclaimed illustrator Lisa Stewart.

We underestimate children if we think they only want hilarious books. Kids need all sorts of books, and different books for different days. Here’s a thoughtful, lyrical story that both induces a mood of quiet contemplation and builds to a fitting climax.

As an adult, I loved that the book is dedicated to “Harriet and Georgina, who know the poetry of gardens” followed by a quote from Emily Dickinson: “Bee! I’m expecting you!” Isn’t it lovely to think of children rambling through a garden, in awe and wonderment over the creatures they find! Hathorn has chosen language that’s perfectly pitched at a pre-school audience’s comprehension, and included words they will enjoy like “flick your flickery tail” and “hoppity-hop”. The rhyme is impeccable, and enhances the read-aloud experience.

Stewart’s illustration suit the gentle rhyming story. Lovely soft pastels and blurred florals hint of drowsy summer days and there are lots of enjoyable details for kids to ponder over. Together, Stewart and Hathorn build to a cracker of a surprise ending that will have kids roaring in appreciation.

Check out the video below where Hathorn explains the background to the book, and encourages us all to explore the natural world with young kids.

I’ll be adding Butterfly, We’re Expecting You! to my List of Children’s Picture Books about the Environment. Find more Children's Book Reviews on The Book Chook by clicking Reviews in the right sidebar.

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