The Story of the Butterfly Children, Hardback
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


Far far away, the butterfly folk live in a kingdom of beautiful gardens.

The butterfly children play, dance and sing all day long with their little brothers and sisters, the caterpillars.

The children can't wait until the first day of spring, when they will finally get their wings.

But first, they must learn about the many brightly coloured flowers in the kingdom, so they can take part in the flying procession of peacock, swallowtail, red admiral and many other butterflies.

Beautifully illustrated in the art nouveau style, this is another classic children's story from the author of The Story of the Root Children and The Story of the Wind Children.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 20 pages, colour illustrations
  • Publisher: Floris Books
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Picture storybooks
  • ISBN: 9780863156885



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Originally published in German as <u>Im Schmetterlingsreich</u> ("In the Butterfly Kingdom"), this picture-book follows the story of the chrysalids, or butterfly children, who anxiously await the coming of spring, and the opportunity to gain their wings, and become fully-grown butterflies. Overseen by the butterfly maidens, who teach them the lore of plants and flowers, taught grace in Madame Dragonfly's dancing school, the chrysalids are gently prepared for the day when the first golden-robed sunbeams of spring arrive to usher them into a new stage of their life...Like so many of its creator's other picture-books, <u>The Story of the Butterfly Children</u> reflects Sibylle von Olfers' vision of nature as a gentle, nurturing force. Here is no wildness, danger or pain, but rather a pleasant and serene order in which all unfolds as it should. From the wind sprites in <u>The Story of the Wind Children</u>, to the root children who help Mother Earth remake the world each spring in <u>The Story of the Root Children</u>, the flora, fauna and phenomena of the natural world are anthropomorphized in von Olfers' work, presented as pretty cherub-like creatures under the care of maternal figures. Such is certainly the case here, as the brown-clad chrysalids - essentially toddlers, with chryslid garments - are transformed into brown-clad butterflies - slightly older children with wings. Similarly, the butterfly maidens are depicted as lovely young women with butterfly wings, and the sunbeams as youths in golden robes. Although an admirer of von Olfers' Art Nouveau illustrations, and of some of her other stories - particularly her poetic <u>Etwas von den Wurzelkindern</u> ("Something About/The Story of the Root Children") - I cannot say this one struck a chord with me. Although the artwork was lovely, the story felt rather cloying. It was just a little too sweet for me, and didn't really go anywhere... Still, mileage may vary, and other readers, particularly younger children who love butterflies, or tales of gossamer-winged fairies, may enjoy it more. Certainly, the artwork alone makes the reading experience worthwhile, even if the story doesn't impress.