Libby Hathorn has done it again, writing a gentle story full of fun for a young reader. Butterfly, We’re Expecting You is delightfully illustrated by Lisa Stewart in soft blues, greens and yellows.
A blonde girl and a dark-haired boy go outside to explore their garden, finding a caterpillar, bees, lizards, frogs, and birds. They wonder about finding a dinosaur!
They watch the caterpillar chewing its way through a leaf, wonder where the bees are when they see the hives, hope the frog will croak for them, and hear the birds chirp. They wonder about the dinosaur’s loud roar.
When they hear the bees buzz, they are glad they fly past. They stop to listen to the frogs croak and watch the lizard darting about. Finally, they see the beautiful butterfly that has come from the caterpillar, and go inside without having heard the dinosaur roar.
The soft colours would make this a very suitable book for bedtime reading and there is a beautiful jacaranda tree with its soft mauve on a number of pages.
The book is written in rhyme, and the only complaint I would have with the book is that it uses the terms ‘birdies’ and ‘froggie’ which I realise is just a personal dislike.
Children love dinosaurs and it was a good idea to include the children wondering about dinosaur bones and a dinosaur roar in their garden adventure.
There are a lot of onomatopoeic words, which children love, ‘croaky’, ‘chirps’ ‘snort’ ‘roar’ ‘buzz’. I can see young children joining in enthusiastically.
There is a lot of alliteration which children find appealing.
‘We are hoping
We’ll see you hoppity-hop’.
(Bit of a challenge there for a beginning reader)
‘And lizard, there you are again
So sleek and smooth and quick!’
The background on each page is a soft wash of grass green, and the jacaranda mauve both when the blossoms are on the tree and on the ground. The animals are simply drawn and I must say the lizard and frog have a remarkably friendly smile. Even the dinosaur looks quite playful.
This book would appeal to a child who loves nature and the outdoors, or to a grandparent wanting to foster that love. I note the book is dedicated to ‘Harriet and Georgina who know the poetry of gardens’. As it happens, I have my own Harriet and Georgina and they would both love this.
Whether you are looking for a book to read to a very young child, or for a book for a beginning reader, this is a most attractive book.