Handle with Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey

by Loree Griffin Burns (Author) Ellen Harasimowicz (Illustrator)

Some farms grow vegetables or grains, and some raise cows, sheep, chickens, or pigs. But have you ever heard of a butterfly farm? How do you raise a butterfly?

On a farm in Costa Rica, workers care for these delicate, winged creatures as they change from eggs to caterpillars to pupae. Like any other crop, the butterflies will eventually leave the farm. But where will they go? And just how do you ship a butterfly?

Very carefully! To discover how it works, follow these butterflies on a remarkable journey!

-- "Journal"

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School Library Journal

Starred Review

Gr 1-4--Burns focuses first on the life of the life of the blue morpho butterfly at the El Bosque Nuevo butterfly farm in Costa Rica and concludes with its a final destination, the Museum of Science in Boston. Bold statements emphasize the details of the expedition through punchy phrases. "Sturdy and tightly sealed, these ingenious packages are ready to travel." Factual back matter further supports the story. Additional information appears in the section "Insects and Their Life Cycles," which discusses the process of metamorphosis. Crisp, full-page photographs capture each impressive stage of the butterfly's journey. Vocabulary is clearly defined within the text, and the glossary explains scientific terms used within the narrative. At the end, the author notes that she and the photographer visited the Costa Rican greenhouse to capture this amazing process. This fascinating topic, rarely featured for a young audience, offers an accessible, visual delight.--Meg Smith, Cumberland County Public Library, Fayetteville, NC

Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"An explanation of the life cycle of butterflies gets an intriguing twist in this account of the work of a Costa Rican butterfly farm, where blue morpho butterflies are raised and the pupae eventually shipped to museums for display and observation. Detailed discussion of each stage in the butterfly life cycle—egg, larva, pupa, and adult—is accompanied by wonderfully sharp, close-up photographs that show intricate structural details, including a three-image sequence that illustrates the emergence of an adult blue morpho from its brilliant emerald-green pupa. It's a bit disconcerting, but also fascinating, to see the industrial overlay on a natural process: eggs are laid on cultivated plants within netted greenhouses, caterpillars at the right age are transferred to an isolated section called the puparium when they're ready to transform, and piles of plucked pupae are sorted and laid out for packaging and shipment. Additional information about metamorphosis, a glossary, and further reading are appended." —The Horn Book Magazine

Loree Griffin Burns
Loree Griffin Burns, Ph.D., did her doctoral at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Ms. Burns lives in Massachusetts with her husband and children. She is the author of Beetle Busters, Tracking Trash, and The Hive Detectives.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Millbrook Press (Tm)
Publication date
January 20, 2014
Junior Library Guild Selection
BISAC categories
JNF003250 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Animals | Butterflies, Moths & Caterpillars
JNF051020 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Technology | Agriculture
Library of Congress categories
Costa Rica
Butterfly farming
Finalist 2014 - 2014
Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award
Nominee 2016 - 2016
Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award
Winner 2015 - 2015

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