Title: The Butterfly Dance
Author and Illustrator: Suzanne Barton
Publisher: Bloomsbury
RRP: $22.99

Caterpillars Dotty and Stripe are best friends. They do and share everything together. When Stripe becomes tired and spins himself a cocoon to sleep, Dotty is lonely until she spins one for herself. Emerging as butterflies, still with their individual dots and stripes, they realise other butterflies like them are together. Separating to join others like themselves, they miss each other until one of Dotty’s new friends helps her out with some good advice.

This picture book for a young audience is beautifully illustrated. Suzanne Barton has combined collage, drawing and painting to beautiful effect. The illustrations vary from soft vignette illustrations to single and double full page illustrations without borders.

This is a gentle story of differences, friendship and acceptance. It would be most suitable in a story time session with a slightly older audience. It would also be suitable for preschool and lower primary grades. The inclusions of butterflies and gardens make this a perfect book to integrate multiple subject areas with a literature study.

Many thanks to Bloomsbury for supplying this book for review.

Activity Suggestions:

  • Research the life cycle of a butterfly.
  • Using different types of paper, including different designs, make a collage of a garden scene with butterflies.
  • Visit a garden to look at butterflies and other insects.
  • Discuss with children how they are similar to, or different from, their friends and classmates. Discussions could include hair, eye and skin colour, and likes and dislikes.
  • Make a class graph of eye colour, or hair colour.
  • Make and decorate butterflies out of light card. Hang from classroom ceiling at various lengths.