Tip 153: June 2021 – Books About Butterflies and Moths
Website Educational Tip for Language and Literacy Development
Butterflies and moths have been on the earth for millions of years. These
winged insects lived in the time of dinosaurs and saber-toothed tiger. That
is much longer than people have lived on the earth. Most butterflies and
moths live everywhere in the world except in the very coldest places.
In the autumn, when the weather grows cool and the leaves start to fall,
like birds, some butterflies and moths fly away to the warm south. But most
butterflies and moths do not live very long, and when the cold weather
comes they die. They have already laid a large number of eggs on twigs,
leaves, or on the ground. These eggs are hard to see because they are about
the size of the head of a pin.
In the spring when they hatch it is not a winged insect that comes out of
the egg, it is a small caterpillar. These caterpillars don’t look like a
butterfly or moth, and they will go through many changes as they grow. They
eat lots of leaves and grow fast. When the caterpillar is ready to develop
wings if it is a moth it will spin a cocoon, but if it is a butterfly it
will spin a chrysalis.
Butterflies and moths look alike, but there are a few ways to tell them
apart. Butterflies antennae are long and thin and have a bump at the end,
the moth’s antennae are thicker and have hairs growing on them. They can
also be told apart by the way they hold their wings. Butterfly wings at
rest are held straight up and close together while moths at rest fold their
wings down like a bird that is flying.
The following books about butterflies and moths may be helpful. The local
library will have many more suggestions.
Infants: Wings: by Mary Kennedy & Patti Stren
This is a story about a caterpillar that turns into butterfly, and a garter
snake who wants to do the same. After reading the story with an infant on
your lap make a butterfly with your hands. Place them with the palms facing
you and the child, then cross your wrists and link your thumbs together
flapping your fingers like the wings of a butterfly.
Amazing World of Butterflies and Moths: by Louis Sabin & Jean
This story is a very accurate description of the life cycle of butterflies
and moths. The illustrations are skillful and colorful. The depictions of
the different caterpillars are very helpful in understanding the phases
they go through. A fun activity for toddlers to make is an egg carton
caterpillar. Cut three vertical sections from an egg carton and have the
children paint it green. When dry, draw two eyes on the front and stick a
half a pipe cleaner through two holes in the top to make the antennae.
Preschoolers: The Life of a Butterfly: by Ann Murphy
This book has photographs of the life cycle of a butterfly. These photos
are marvelous. It starts with the egg on a plant and shows a caterpillar
hatching out and eating leaves. Then it shows the caterpillar turning into
a pupa and making a chrysalis ending when the butterfly breaks out, and has
to wait for its wings to dry before it flies away. An activity for
preschoolers is to make a butterfly out of a white paper plate which they
have colored then folded in half. They should cut it on the fold and staple
it with the rounded sides together for the wings. Use a clothespin for the
body at the top of the wings, with half a pipe cleaner between the wings as
Butterflies Remind Us What A Gift It Is To Be Alive. (Robyn Nola)