Far Flutterby

Karen Kingsbury, illus. by Jennifer A. Bell. Zonderkidz, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-310-71213-8
Two brightly colored winged creatures, Beulah Lee Bird and Franny McFly, make consecutive visits to wrinkly, brown, spectacle-wearing caterpillar Cody in the town of Better-than-Brown, a gray, leafy tree. Each bears witness to the wonderful place from which they come: “the land of Far Flutterby/ where God has good plans for his creatures to fly.” Urging trust and patience, they fly off, leaving Cody to dream of “that remarkable place,” while neighboring caterpillars contentedly munch on leaves. Bell’s (Too Shy for Show and Tell) full-bleed, full-spread paintings in hues of brown and olive-green depict a round-headed misfit amid smiling siblings, ladybugs, and ants; his eventual transformation into an exuberant, purple-gold butterfly warrants a splashy spread. Kingsbury’s (Brave Young Knight) rhymed, formulaic stanzas tell a predictable tale with a somewhat odd evangelistic twist: the humble caterpillar’s struggle eventually delivers him to a place where “life is a daydream that never grows old.” The story closes with a clarifying moral: “the struggle... is what gives you wings!” while conveying a subtler, overarching message about God’s sustaining presence during hard times. Ages 4–7. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/19/2011
Release date: 01/01/2012
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