Waiting for Wings

by Lois Ehlert

The stages of butterfly chrysalis development are pictured on pages that vary in... read more

The stages of butterfly chrysalis development are pictured on pages that vary in size from 7 x 6” to 121/4x 101/2”. A universal nature story begins on the inside cover of this unique book. Each double-page spread reveals a new stage of the cycle. The text, which begins only after the first several pages, is rhymed and spare, offering what can’t be shown visually: “Out in the fields, eggs are hidden from view / clinging to leaves with butterfly glue.” Children watch as a chrysalis becomes the colorful insect they might see in fields, parks, or backyard gardens, or while visiting butterfly exhibits in public museums or conservatories. Ehlert’s visual abstractions show children the cycle of change, while retaining the wonder. Her design underscores the miracle and drama of creation. Vibrant colors and bold shapes mark the graphic art of her painted collage assemblages. Amidst the natural suspense and visual glory is solid information, such as how butterflies get nourishment by unrolling their tongues. Such a book offers more than anyone can see from personal observation and enhances our ability to look at nature. In the five final pages of this strikingly beautiful volume, readers will discover identification information and directions for growing a butterfly garden. Artist Lois Ehlert is known in many nations for designing new ways to use page spaces and colors in her highly visual books about the natural world. Waiting for Wings is no exception to the high standard she’s established. (Ages 3–9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2002

show less