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Children's Fiction Butterflies, Moths & Caterpillars

If You Want to Be a Butterfly

by (author) Muon Thi Van

illustrated by Andrea Armstrong

Kids Can Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2023
Butterflies, Moths & Caterpillars, Poetry (see also Stories in Verse), Environment
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2023
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 7
  • Grade: p to 2
  • Reading age: 3 to 7


From acclaimed author Muon Thi Van comes an innovative exploration of a butterfly's life cycle --- in reverse.

“If you want to be a butterfly, then arise, unfurl and welcome the waiting world,” the narrator of this playful book begins. Readers will flit from flower to flower with an adorable butterfly ... hold on tight with a chrysalis through all sorts of weather ... munch away with a greedy little caterpillar ... sit very, very still and dream big with a teeny tiny egg. It's a magical journey back in time, ending up ... at the beginning!

Award-winning author Muon Thi Van's lyrical language and use of the second person make this delightful picture book a perfect choice for interactive read-alouds, sure to spark the imagination and free the butterfly in every child. Lively and engaging, it promotes curiosity, observation, interpretation and discussion. Charming illustrations by Andrea Armstrong add personality to the butterfly that befits each stage of its development. This is a unique and captivating introduction to a key life science curriculum topic. The book ends with a full description with illustrations of the butterfly's life cycle that highlights the important role butterflies play in ecosystems.

About the authors

Mượn Thị Văn loves to read books of all shapes and sizes. She first began reading yellow-spined hardbacks about a certain girl detective before graduating to longer novels and then picture books (it's true, she doesn't remember reading picture books as a young child). So few books reflected her formative experiences, though, that she desired to bring new and different stories into the world. Mýợn has written many picture books for children, including Wishes, If You Were Night and One Is a Lot, and her books have received many distinctions and awards. She lives in Northern California with her family.

Muon Thi Van's profile page

Illustrator Andrea Armstrong is an artist based in Vancouver, British Columbia. She specializes in character-driven art, children's book illustration, portraiture and, more recently, animation.

Andrea Armstrong's profile page

Editorial Reviews

A quirky but appealing story, suited for a one-on-one bedtime reading or inspiring imaginations in story hours.—School Library Journal (Praise for If You Were Night)

One unique picture book with much to say equals quite a lot.—Kirkus Reviews, starred review (Praise for One Is a Lot (Except When It's Not))

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