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Velma Gratch & the Way Cool Butterflyby Alan Madison
Synopses & Reviews
This School Library Journal Best Book of the Year celebrates everything butterfly, from migration to metamorphosis! It's hard to be Velma entering first grade. That's because everyone has marvelous memories of her two older sisters, who were practically perfect first graders, and no one even notices Velma. But all that changes on a class trip to the butterfly conservatory, a place neither of her sisters has been. When a monarch roosts on Velma's finger and won't budge for days—no one will ever forget it . . . or her! Kids will love reading about Velma's own transformation in this perfect addition to any science curriculum.
"At the center of Madison's (The Littlest Grape Stomper) picture book is first-grader Velma Gratch; despite her round eyeglasses and bushy red pigtails, she worries that she isn't as memorable as her well-known older siblings — until she discovers butterflies. 'She adored the ones with colorful names: brown elfin, frosted flasher, sleepy orange. And the ones with funny names: comma, question mark, American snout.' During a school trip to a butterfly conservatory, which Velma aptly calls a 'can-serve-the-story' in a humorous if too-cute Junie B.-esque malapropism, the otherwise ordinary story veers abruptly into fantasy. A monarch perches on Velma's finger and won't let go (she attends ballet class with it on her finger and sleeps with her butterfly hand on a pillow), finally giving her the distinction she craves. Hawkes's (Library Lion) paintings ably convey the colorful differences between the types of butterflies. His work shines most brightly, perhaps, on his witty endpapers: the opening papers show caterpillars (including an 'orange-tipped Gratch'); the papers at the end display butterflies (Velma is now a 'Small Gratchis'), underscoring the character's own metamorphosis. Both adults and emerging conservationists should appreciate this leisurely story about finding one's bliss. Ages 4-8." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Alan Madison is the author of some very funny books for children, including The Littlest Grape Stomper, and Pecorino Plays Ball. He lives in New York City.
Kevin Hawkes has illustrated the New York Times bestselling Library Lion and My Little Sister Ate One Hare. He lives in Gorham, Maine.
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