November 17, 2014
Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey by Loree Griffin Burns
Handle with Care:
An Unusual Butterfly Journey
by Loree Griffin Burns
photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz
A package arrives at the museum. Inside a rectangle of foam cushions a wealth of chrysalis.
Your typical butterfly life cycle book takes the reader from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly. Loree Griffin Burns handles things differently. She shows how farmers in Costa Rica raise butterflies, keeping them and their young safe from predators, and ship some of the chrysalis to museums and butterfly houses world wide.
While many readers may know something about the monarch, this book focuses on the blue morpho butterfly but also explains that it isn’t the only butterfly raised for shipment. It should be noted that some of the butterflies are also released back into the wild.
I especially like the spread where Burns shows that the appearance of the blue morpho caterpillar changes as it grows, shedding its skin and growing some more. Workers use the appearance of the caterpillars to age them and tell when they will likely turn into a chyrsalis.
Adding to the book are Ellen Harasimowicz’s photos. She shows a variety of scenes at the farm in Costa Rica as well as the musuem where the butterflies eventually break out of their chrysalis. The photos on the end papers, just inside the front and back cover of the book, took my breath away. In the front are photos of various chrysalis. Some are plump, green and shiny. Others looks like folded leaves or sticks. My favorites are a glistening metallic gold. Inside the back cover are a variey of butterflies including the familiar monarch.
Make sure this book is on your classroom shelf. Share it with the young natural lover or read it before you study life cycles or conservation topics.