Of Children’s Books And Butterflies

by Rick Nau

“Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Western Swallowtail

Western Swallowtail

One afternoon I stopped and watched a yellow butterfly in the park. The wind was strong, out of the west, but the butterfly maintained its place below the trees, soaring and diving with each and every gust, circling round and round, until, I don’t know why, it landed on a leaf. Why not a flower, I wondered? 

And so, that night, I surfed the web, soaring up and diving down, amid the myriad pages, searching for that butterfly. High and low I searched, until my eyes were overwhelmed with children’s picture books, books inspired by butterflies.

One cover caught my eye, bright green it was, entitled: How To Raise Monarch Butterflies. But then I read the smaller print: A Step By Step Guide For Kids. A warning shot across the bow?

How To Raise Monarch Butterflies by Carol Pasternak

How To Raise Monarch Butterflies by Carol Pasternak

I hunkered down and looked at a review. “A book for children to learn about monarch butterflies, their lifecycle and the benefits of monarch butterflies to the environment. Includes step-by-step instructions for raising your own crop of butterflies in your home. Great for nature lovers young and old alike.”  Mari Farthing Metro Family Magazine (Oklahoma)

I delved in deeper. What would a kid need for this adventure? A bit of string? A jar? Some pots? Some milkweed seeds? Seems rather tame to me. How’s this compare to climbing Everest or walking on the moon?

But then again, I hadn’t read the book. Perhaps some great adventure lay within, some quest for beauty and for fun. I’d have to take a look. Or should I not? Or would some call it writer’s block?

And so I ask the reader to reply. Should I start raising butterflies?

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