Life Cycles of Butterflies
by Judy Burris & Wayne Richards

Price at time of review: $16.95
151 pp.
Storey Books
Pownal, VT
2006
ISBN: 9781580176170


Grade Level: 4-8

Reviewed by Adah Stock
Master Teacher and a Science Education Consultant


This unique book is a visual guide of 23 butterflies commonly found in gardens throughout North America. From egg to adult butterfly, each stage is shown in vivid color. The butterflies' breeding ranges are illustrated up to the third generation. Images of each butterfly's host and nectar plants are shown and cross referenced to a quick visual reference guide in the back of the book. The yearly timeline shows their life cycle seasons and, in some cases, in which part of North America that occurs. The field notes are brief and to the point, because the photos have descriptions that address the authors' presentation. All of these components not only make the book attractive but also provide information for students to identify, compare, and make inferences.

The text adds information about these 23 butterflies. The authors compare life cycles through detailed photos of various eggs' shapes and texture, parts of a caterpillar, and samples of various chrysalises. The last two short chapters illustrate the kinds of plants butterflies favor and describe briefly other winged garden visitors (other butterflies, snipes, and moths) the authors noted while capturing the photos for this book.

The quick visual guides compare eggs, caterpillars, and chrysalises of all 23 species described in this book in three pages. The back cover of the book shows all 23 butterflies as they appear full grown. The book ends with a traditional glossary and index.

As an amateur naturalist, I have spent a great deal of time flipping through page after page of field guides trying to find a species that I had seen. Having them presented on four pages makes identification much easier for children. This book was awarded the "Teachers Choice Award" from Learning Magazine.  The photos support reluctant readers as they make the journey to budding naturalists. Having this book in a classroom or personal or school library would generate interest and further awareness of nature. It could also be used for projects, inquiry assignments comparing adaptations, or independent reading.



Review posted on 8/15/2007


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