2018 Reviews · children · Picture book

Children’s Book Review: The Butterfly Dance by Suzanne Barton

Title: The Butterfly Dancethe butterfly dance small

Author:  Suzanne Barton

Published: May 1st 2018

Publisher: Bloomsbury Australia

Pages: 32

Genres:  Children (0-5)

RRP: $14.99

Rating: 4 stars

Caterpillars Dotty and Stripe do everything together. They play, they eat leaves and do all sorts of caterpiller-y things, and then one day, after spinning themselves into snuggly cocoons, they wake up as beautiful butterflies! But soon they realise that, for the first time ever, they look different. Should Dotty only play with butterflies that look like her? And Stripe only play with butterflies that look like him? 

A stunningly illustrated story about friendship and and being happy with who you are, from the author/illustrator of Waterstones Children’s Book Prize shortlisted The Dawn Chorus.

My review:

Accomplished children’s book author and illustrator Suzanne Barton splashed onto the publishing scene with her first book sensation, The Dawn Chorus. Barton’s debut gained her official recognition when she was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Award. Barton has published a great set of books since her debut, which continue to attract official recognition. Barton’s latest, The Butterfly Dance, is a beautiful book inside and out, which will be sure to induce a sense of pure delight from your young readers.

The Butterfly Dance introduces the reader to best friends Dotty and Stripe, who are happy living their lives in their comfy cocoons. Dotty and Stripe’s world changes when Dotty wakes up to discover she has changed completely, she is now a beautiful butterfly! Then Stripe suddenly morphs into a red butterfly. But the firm friends hit a snag. Red butterflies can only play with other red butterflies. While blue butterflies can only play with butterflies of the same colour. Will Dotty and Stripe overcome this problem and remain the very best of friends? The Butterfly Dance is a cute tale of friendship, that gently reminds us that it is not our appearance that matters, but our heart.

The Butterfly Dance is an adorable spring themed picture book that was a great hit in my household. It is the perfect book for both bedtime and read aloud situations. I look forward to sharing this delightful picture book with the students in my classroom. I can envisage using The Butterfly Dance to teach concepts of same and different, friendships, self confidence and acceptance. It could also be incorporated into studies on the lifecycle of a butterfly, along with patterns, symmetry, insects/minibeasts, seasons and flowers. With so many different teaching opportunities in the one picture book, this is one you should not miss.

I am always in awe of writers who are also able to illustrate their own books, what talent! I greatly admire Suzanne Barton’s skill to combine her accessible prose, which is perfectly targeted at her prime audience (ages 3-7), with her visually appealing illustrations. I love Barton’s style of illustrations, she deftly combines a mixture of different media types, from collage, print, paint and sketch art. The end result is simply marvellous. The exquisite illustrations are carefully woven in and around the text of the book.

Dotty and Stripe are loveable leads and for my own family, these two characters soon worked their way in to our hearts. Dotty and Stripe’s pathway to friendship, self discovery and acceptance was well worth following. Along the way, the reader is gently educated in the metamorphosis of a butterfly, while also learning about the ins and outs of friendship. Barton draws out attention to the happy and the more tenuous moments that we must negotiate in our relationships with others. Barton presents a common problem that all young readers will be able to identify with.

The Butterfly Dance is a visual spectacle. The elegant artwork, combined with the finely tuned text, fuse together nicely. It is with enthusiasm that I ratify this thoughtful picture book. I look forward to Suzanne Barton’s next picture book project.

The Butterfly Dance by Suzanne Barton was published on 1st May 2018 by Bloomsbury Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The Butterfly Dance, Suzanne Barton, visit here.

*I wish to thank Bloomsbury Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.

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