Friday, November 10, 2023

Today's read... Butterfly Girl by Ashling Kwok

by Ashling Kwok
Illustrated by Arielle Li
EK Books
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8

Olivia and her butterfly friends spend all of their time together, until one day everything changes, and Olivia and her mother move to an apartment in the city. Olivia is heartbroken because she doesn’t want to leave her butterfly friends behind but her mother assures her that she will make new friends in the city. When Olivia and her mum arrive in the city, it’s so grey and gloomy that everyone is sheltering inside. Olivia waits for new friends to come and play but no -one appears. So Olivia stands on her empty concrete apartment balcony and calls out to her butterfly friends ― because they always come when she needs them. But this time, even her butterfly friends don’t appear. Then Olivia remembers that butterflies need colourful nectar plants, a puddle pool and rocks to rest their wings on, but Olivia doesn’t have a garden anymore so she decides to build a butterfly balcony garden using whatever she can find. Olivia waits and waits and waits but her butterflies stay away. Just as Olivia is about to lose hope, a gust of wind blows flowers from her balcony garden across the grey sky and onto her neighbours’ balconies. People of all ages and cultural ethnicities appear on their balconies to pick up the flowers, and Olivia suddenly knows exactly what she needs to do to attract (human and butterfly) friends.

GOODREADS    /    AMAZON    /    B&N


The sorrow of moving and leaving friends behind flows in a gentle story with hope and heart.

Olivia is constantly surrounded by butterflies, but when her family moves from the countryside to an apartment in the middle of a city, these beautiful insects are nowhere to be found. Olivia isn't about to give up and decides to create an inviting atmosphere...and maybe, her colorful friends will find her. But instead, everything takes a different and exciting twist.

This story takes a look at the sadness of moving and leaving friends behind, but takes a gentle and playful approach. The first pages open up with Olivia surrounded by a rainbow of butterflies. It presents a natural and carefree atmosphere, which offers a huge contrast to the gray and empty balcony of the apartment, where Olivia spends her time after the family's move. Her sadness touches the heart and young readers will feel the heaviness right along with Olivia. 

My favorite aspect of this read is Olivia's decision to take matters into her own hands. She's determined to give her best to change the gray emptiness into a place of vibrant life and lure her friends back to her. The result of her efforts spread quickly and offer the hope and joy to round everything off nicely. This creates an uplifting message, which can be read time and time again.

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