Friday, May 1, 2015

PPBF: The Apple and the Butterfly

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

The Apple and the Butterfly,
by Iela and Enzo Mari

The Apple and the Butterfly
Written and Illustrated by Iela Mari and Enzo Mari
Reprinted Stern, Price, Sloan, 2013 (original Bompiani, 1969 and Pantheon, 1970)
Preschool-2nd grade, wordless

Wordless, Science, Non-fiction

This wordless picture book takes the reader on the journey of a butterfly life-cycle. In graphic, but realistic style, the author / illustrators beautifully portray how a butterfly lays her egg on an apple blossom, how the egg becomes a tiny caterpillar who eats his way out of the center of the fruit, how the caterpillar feeds on the apple tree, makes a chrysalis, emerges as a butterfly, and begins the cycle again.

What I Love:
When I happened on a modern copy of this book in a book store, I had no idea artist Iela and designer Enzo created it in 1969! That explains the limited use of color, but don't let that stop you from sharing this marvelous book with your young nature lovers. It has a fresh look and a timeless appeal which can teach little ones to appreciate the intricacy of creation even while it informs, all in an approachable wordless package.

Interior illustrations,
Courtesy Babyccino Kids

1. You can find more books by the Maris on The Animalarium.
2. Learn the facts about butterflies on The Children's Butterfly Site.
3. The Butterfly Site offers free coloring pages.
4. The Australian site Nudie has instructions for kids on how to grow an apple tree or find fun facts about apples on Science Kids.
5. KinderCare invented an adorable peanut butter and banana caterpillar.
6. Make your own crafty pasta life cycle on A Nation of Moms or a technicolor butterfly suncatcher from MiniEco.
7. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Erik
Reviewed by Laura Anne

Reviewed by Clarike
Reviewed by Sue

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for May 1, 2015 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.


  1. How wonderful that this gem was reprinted.

    1. Thanks. Now I'm interested in finding some others like this.

  2. I am a sucker for butterfly stories. There is so much for children to learn, The illustrations really carry the story. Like the use of white space.

    1. Really? I'll be on the lookout for more butterflies!

  3. Wow! The Apple and the Butterfly looks very current. Thanks for including other similar books. I never heard of Red Butterfly.

    1. Red Butterfly is based on a story of how the pricess smuggled silkworms to the rest of the world. I thought it would be a fun companion book. Thanks!

  4. I love the simplicity of the illustrations. I'll have to check this one out!

    1. I think there is a lot for illustrators to learn from this, both timelessness and strong design. Thanks!


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