Butterfly Boy by Virginia Kroll. il Gerardo Suzán.
Boyds Mills Press: Honesdale, PA, 1997.

Emilio's grandfather can no longer speak, but receives pleasure from Emilio reading to him and watching the butterflies on a sunny day. Emilio can tell by the glimmer in his grandfather's eyes. The butterflies migrate and come again the next year. On the day of their arrival, Emilio greets the butterflies and then learns his father has painted their white garage blue. The white being the main attraction for the butterflies, Emilio begs his father to change it back. It takes a few moments for his father to understand the importance of his plea, but he leaves for white paint soon after.

This is a delightful story bringing together a grandson's love and caring of an elderly and incapacitated man and the habits of butterflies. Both are subtly shown, but all important in the story. It has great depth of feeling.

The illustrations are vibrant and alive, carrying the same depth of emotion and meaning. The artwork is Mexican in style, with fantasy and symbolism and even some foreshadowing. As much as I like the story itself, the paintings are what attracted me and keeps me coming back.

related-butterflies, debilitating illness, old age, Mexico-juvenile literature
RL=1st-2nd, read aloud to toddler and up

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