Author and Illustrator: Elly MacKay
Published May 5th, 2015 by Running Press Kids
Goodreads Summary: When a little girl moves to a new town, she finds a place called Butterfly Park. But when she opens the gate, there are no butterflies. Determined to lure the butterflies in, the girl inspires her entire town to help her. And with their combined efforts, soon the butterflies—and the girl—feel right at home.
Elly MacKay’s luminous paper-cut illustrations and enchanting story encourage community, friendship, and wonderment in the beauty of everyday life.
Kellee’s Review: What a wonderful book about community and perseverance! MacKay’s beautiful paper-cut illustrations push this book to a whole new level. I am in awe of her work! It is amazing that each of the intricate pieces of her illustrations are cut out and designed. In addition to the illustrations, I really liked this story of a community gathering together to rebuild a butterfly park. I think the book highlights beauty in nature as well as working together to reach a goal. This is a wonderful book to read aloud and wonder at with children.
Ricki’s Review: Let me count the ways I love this book. Illustrators are getting more and more creative with their craft. Drawings and paintings are old news it seems. I absolutely adored the paper cut outs, which inspired me to hop onto the internet to look at other creative forms of artwork. I kept thinking about how neat it would be for students to create a class book similar to this one! We describe further ideas for classroom implementation of this book in the next section, but I can’t help but to express how inspiring this story is. My husband kept looking over as I said, “Ooooo.” This would be a great resource for creative writing classes because teaches students to break the mold with the presentation of their prose.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book would be a wonderful introduction to tone and theme. There are a few different themes that could be discussed as well as the drastic tone change of our narrator from her move to the end of the book.
Additionally, on the reverse side of the book jacket, there is a poster of butterflies and flowers. It charges the reader to “Plant Your Own Butterfly Garden” which would be a wonderful project for a class. The flowers included are labeled and specifically shown because they are ones butterflies love. You could even go as far as to research the different flowers to determine why butterflies like them the best.
I also think this book could be an amazing mentor text for an art project on paper-cut illustrations. Students could make their own illustrated books using the paper-cut technique.
Discussion Questions: Why do you think the whole neighborhood helped the girl?; Could the young girl have finished the butterfly park without help?; Why was the butterfly park so important to the girl?
“And then there was her house, plain and gray like all the others.
But next to it was a gate unlike any other. The girl repeated the letters. Suddenly, she felt very lucky!”
Read This If You Loved: Weeds Find a Way by Cindy Jenson-Elliott, Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner, The Sky Painter by Margarita Engle, In the Garden by Elizabeth Spurr
Read other reviews of Butterfly Park by following the Butterfly Trail!
Stops on the #butterflytrail can found at http://www.runningpress.com/butterflypark.
**Thank you to Valerie at Running Press Kids for providing copies for review!**