Laura Vaccaro Seeger excels in presenting creative concept books, as seen in the previously reviewed Green, Lemons Are Not Red and The Hidden Alphabet. All of her books have a quietly artistic and poetic feel, and First the Egg is no exception.
I think the criteria by which non-fiction picture books for children are judged are slightly different from that used on fiction. For one, there isn’t really a ‘story’ — just raw facts. So, the top criterion here has to be that the facts have been researched exhaustively and are 100% accurate and reliable. However, great non-fiction picture books also have some things in common with the best children’s fiction, such as being well written and beautifully illustrated — the way in which the information is presented makes a huge difference in determining whether or not children will want to read it, let alone absorb the content.
Hence, with all that in mind, I’m happy to say that A Butterfly Is Patient ticks all the right boxes.
In the animal kingdom, every day is a game of Survivor: outwit, outrun, outlive. Where in the Wild? thus highlights one of the key survival skills of animals: the art of camouflage. For a prey especially, if it can’t be seen, it can’t be hunted down; whereas for a predator, keeping itself hidden from plain sight is an advantage since the prey wouldn’t see it coming until it’s too late.
Possibly the most famous and widely read children’s board book around, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a cleverly crafted book that uses a deceptively simple story of a very hungry little caterpillar to integrate myriad concepts like different types of food, days of the week, counting — and it even touches on the life cycle of a butterfly!