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Author: Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., et al

Illustrator: Dave Zaboski

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Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers,

Material: hard cover

Summary: A grub's life. Reeds, grass, leaves. Day in, day out. Except the day that Gideon was working on a leaf that fell from the tree. He was terrified. But by the time he had reached the ground, Gideon was wishing he could do it again. It was all Gideon could talk about or dream about. He had to fly again. So he left his friends in search of a chance to fly. But then he fell asleep. He thought he was waking up, but was he really? He had wings! How could this be? A caterpillar/butterfly helps children discover that change is part of life.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, playtime reading, read aloud book, remedial reader

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 10 and Up

Interest Level: 4 to 10

Reading Level: 5.9

Age of Child: Started reading with 6½-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter paged through this book before we even had a chance to read it. She loves butterflies, and was smitten with the expressive Gideon and Grace. We've read this one lots of times.

Adult Reader Reaction: There are lots of caterpillar-to-butterfly stories, and this one is definitely on the short-list of must reads. The story approaches the transformation from a completely different angle, and the illustrator captures the fun of it very well. I giggle every time I see Gideon's "legs."

Pros: Everyone can enjoy this light-hearted story about living your dream.

Cons: If you're looking for a story that has deep meaning and very important teaching moments (VITMs), you may be disappointed.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a story that can grow with your child. You can enjoy it as a whimsical story or you can explore it with greater depth as they get older.


Educational Themes: The obvious theme for the story is how a caterpillar becomes a buttefly, but this is secondary to the story. By the time you are sharing this story, your child will already know the answer! So take advantage of the time to ask what will happen next. You can also draw out or talk about fear, spontaneous events, believing in yourself, and pursuing your dream, among others.

Notes: Flesch-Kincaid reading level 5.9

Literary Categories: Fiction - animal characters, picture book, life lessons, emotions

Date(s) Reviewed: May 2008

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