The Lab of Butterfly McWonder

By Judy Cutchins

SYNOPSIS

At seven years old, Emma McWonder loves nothing better than exploring the world of wildlife in her wooded backyard and in the beautiful stream that runs through it. She keeps journals with notes and pictures of the wildlife and plants she discovers. One day, after watching a group of beautiful tiger swallowtail butterflies, Emma declares to her parents she would like to be called Butterfly.

Soon, Emma is taking friends and family on walks outdoors. Her parents create a basement nature “lab” for their budding scientist where she can work and others can enjoy all of Emma’s nature objects and her library of books.

Go with Butterfly McWonder on her adventures as she grows and explores natural habitats.

Books are available in stores and online.

MY REVIEW

Loved it! 😍

A Delightful Children’s Book for Encouraging Nature Exploration in Their Own Backyards

Emma McWonder is, well, a wonderful budding naturalist and scientist who finds comfort in the amazing flora and fauna that exist in her new home’s backyard. And her love of nature is infectious, encouraging her parents, friends and neighbors to take a new look at the world around them.

The Lab of Butterfly McWonder is a delightful book that I would’ve read to my kids when they were younger.

While the story is presented in a simplistic fashion generally acceptable for the age group and genre of the subject, I found myself enamored by the illustrations that accompanied the story. And the addition of her journal pages made me smile, too.

I took a star off, because the prose needs to be cleaned up a little for the flow of the story. I found myself rereading more than a few pages to make sure I understood what was going on, especially with the part where her dad remembered they had a table and chairs, and he was going to make a bookcase. The way it was written made me wonder if he intended to make a bookcase from those materials? It was never clarified, but overall unimportant to the story.

Honestly, the whole scene converting the corner of the basement felt forced and jarring, as the rest of the narrative was from Butterfly’s point of view. I would’ve liked it better if that whole scene was removed and the daughter was surprised to see the transformation. (There wasn’t much in the way of emotion throughout the narrative, but I figured that was just because it was a children’s book.)

Overall, it’s clear that the author loves nature and has since she was a child. Her illustrations draw you in and the details keep you there. I literally spent more time trying to find all the fantastic details on each page.

Definitely a good story with strong potential to be an award-winner. Thank you for letting me read this.

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