#PPBF/ Red Butterfly

Good Morning Friends,

We had a wonderful week of warm weather in the forties and fifties. It was heavenly after the February we had. And I trust most of you had the same? Nice way to bring in Spring, right? Today I have a book with brilliant summer hues.

RED Butterfly book cover_dTitle: Red Butterfly

Author / Illustrator: Deborah Noyes/ Sophie Blackall

Publishing info: Candlewick Press, 2007

Age Range: 6 to 9 years old with grades one through four being best.

Themes: retelling of legend, China, princess, courage,

First Three Lines: “In my father’s kingdom are many splendors. Bells and drums and conchs sound in the city streets. All day long ladies with careful eyebrows crisscross palace courtyards.”

What the jacket says: “Flowing silk flies along behind a young Chinese princess as she lovingly says goodbye to the many splendors of her father’s kingdom. “Goodbye, pink peach petals. Goodbye yellow moon.” At summers end, she must venture to an oasis far away in the hot dry desert. But secretly, boldly, she’ll carry a little piece of adored home with her.

Red Butterfly reimagines the legend of how a gently defiant princess revealed to the world a secret the Chinese had guarded for two thousand years – the secret of silk.


Resources: For a display on red butterflies, Look here:

For an even better teacher guide to red butterflies not having anything to do with the book but I just can’t resist the great display look here:

For a teacher guide on China look here:

Why I Love the Book: I love retellings of legends. see a post I did on Thunderbird about an Native  American boy and his petroglyphs: and a retelling of an old fairy tale. 🙂

And this retelling of an old legend of how a  princess smuggled the secret of silk out of  China is another grand tale. Told in poetic imagery reminiscent of Chinese with its red butterfly, lotus and peach blossoms, I escaped into long ago China.

In the retelling, the princess is just a child in an arranged marriage and the skill Noyes uses to depict this is amazing. “I am a child with my hair  yet cut across my forehead, but soon I will marry the king of far  Khotan.”

And the princess goes on to say goodbye to her beloved, yellow moon and pink peach petals. (hear the alliteration? ) Then the  courage of with which she hides some silk worms and mulberry seeds upon which they feed is evident. All in all a grand picture book. Just right for Perfect Picture Book Friday.


For my writer friends:

The business of self publishing Children’s Books : Jane Friedman tells all.

How to shut up your inner editor: 

This is what Vivian  Kirkfield says about the fun over at Susanna Leonard Hill’s site: “Today is Friday  and this is my 450th blog post! I have a children’s book review to add to the Perfect Picture Book resource list that author Susanna Leonard Hill is building on her blog. For more wonderful reviews from authors, educators and others who contributed today, please go here.”


Christie Wild had a class examining picture books, I just came too late to the  table but here is Vivian’s take of one of her classes. 

Enjoy your weekend everyone!




About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
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20 Responses to #PPBF/ Red Butterfly

  1. It does sound beautifully written and I love Sophie’s work. Thanks for sharing this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wendy says:

    I loved the phrase “gently defiant.” These once upon a time stories really set the imagination free!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Darlene says:

    I also like the retelling of legends. This one sounds wonderful. Love the cover. Glad your spring has come!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like the retelling of old legends. This book looks simply elegant and beautiful. And, then you say “she smuggles the secret of silk” out of China. Made me chuckle. Great pick.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Cathy Ballou Mealey says:

    You had me at …SOPHIE BLACKALL! She’s amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. beleyne says:

    Sounds like a special book. I can hardly wait to check it out!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love re-telling of legends too. The illustration on the cover is really beautiful. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • clarbojahn says:

      Hi Erik,

      Thanks. Like you those authors who retell legends or fairy tales hold a special place in my heart. A child’s world is opened up in one more way. And usually it is with a rich diverse culture like this one.

      Come visit anytime! 🙂


  8. I love retellings… and this is a wonderful tale to tell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • clarbojahn says:

      Thanks, Sue!

      Yes, I agree this is a wonderful tale to tell. Just by retelling a legend one author made a reader’s life richer by introducing a different culture. I am all for diversity in writing and this author has done it in retelling a legend. 🙂
      Come visit anytime! 🙂


  9. I look forward to finding this one. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Joyce Tucker says:

    Sounds like a beautiful retelling! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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