One of the traditions at our library each summer is to watch as larvae mature into caterpillars, enter a chrysalis stage, and finally emerge as Painted Lady butterflies. Kids and their families (and staff!) enjoy observing the butterflies for a week or so before getting together for a butterfly-themed storytime and releasing the butterflies outside.
We purchase Painted Lady larvae from Insect Lore, a “butterfly by mail” company whose tag line -“Get ‘em, Grow ‘em, Let ‘em Go” – is self-explanatory. During their time at the library, the Painted Ladies undergo a metamorphosis from larvae to butterfly, in a room specially designated for the month as “The Flutterin’ Inn.” The room is decorated with child-created butterfly-related art, and a wide assortment of books about butterflies are available for checkout. The insects live in a tent which allows kids and their grown-ups to get an up-close look at them. It is fascinating to watch the discussions and it is an incredibly easy vocabulary building opportunity.
Our department has an extensive booklist of kids’ butterfly books in our collection, but some of the titles I most like to use in storytime include:
The highlight of this fun program is releasing the butterflies outside. Kids and their families look forward to this every year.