________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 21 . . . . June 20, 2003


Marigold’s Wings.

Vlasta van Kampen.
Toronto, ON: Key Porter Books, 2002.
32 pp., cloth, $21.95.
ISBN 1-55263-468-X.

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9.

Review by Reesa Cohen.

**** /4


When Marigold opened her eyes, she was hanging upside down from a branch, just like a possum. She felt really strange. Her yellow stripes were fading and her skin was turning a lovely green

She wiggled and squirmed and wiggled and squirmed until her old skin split and was pushed up and off. Looking at the magnificent jewel-like case that now covered her body, Marigold knew that it would be her house for a while.

"Amazing," whispered the grasshopper.

"Cool," said the cicada.

"How did she do that?" asked the ladybug.

Vlasta van Kampen succeeds once again in creating intriguing stories of nature, animals and insects as she did in her previous books, Beetle Bedlam and A Drop of Gold, to name only two. This time she tackles the story of the monarch butterfly in the most charming way.
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     From an insider’s point of view, that is, an insect's point of view, readers enter the fascinating world of Marigold, a caterpillar who day dreams of growing beautiful wings and becoming a butterfly. Enchanting dialogue between Marigold and an elder Monarch butterfly and then with her friends adds a delightful touch to this science-based story. The perilous journey of a Monarch butterfly from Canada to Mexico is recounted in vivid fashion, including several narrow escapes from danger, injuries and even friends coming to the rescue.

     Glorious watercolours feature close-up views of flowers, insects, and trees. The rich and lively choice of colours and the many fascinating perspectives are a visual treat. Although the artwork is exuberant and at times, playful, there is also striking detail.

     The book concludes with Phil Schappert, a Monarch butterfly specialist, giving interesting, well written information on the actual journey of these rugged travelers in a tone perfectly suited to the targeted audience. A web site is included for further information.

     This picture book is satisfying in every way. It is an ideal read-aloud story, but informative as well.

Highly Recommended.

Reesa Cohen is an Instructor of Children's Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB. She recently designed and delivered a course devoted entirely to Canadian Children's Literature for teachers at the Post Baccalaureate Certificate level or for Professional Development, a course which will be offered again in the fall of 2003.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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