Here at Glow Word Books, we love butterflies. It’s cool how they change from caterpillars to cocoons to butterflies… and our son has inherited our love for butterflies, so we thought we’d put together a butterfly book list for kids. It contains some of our favorite butterfly books.
Very Hungry Caterpillar
You might as well start off with the obvious, right? This is a beautifully illustrated book about a caterpillar eating everything in his path. The different sized pages are fun to read.
Recommended for toddlers ages 1-3
Great for children who are just discovering butterflies and caterpillars for the first time.
Butterflies Don’t Chew Bubblegum!
By the end of the book, your kids will be yelling out the repeating chorus: “Butterflies Don’t Chew Bubblegum”. The pages alternate between bugs doing creative things with bubblegum (like playing tug of war or jumping on gum trampolines) and then butterflies definitely not chewing bubblegum. Instead, the butterflies are doing fun activities like riding snails or dancing on an octopus!
Recommended for kids ages 2-5
Great for children who want interactive books that encourage them to say the chorus along with you.
Bob and Otto
This is a charming story about a caterpillar and worm’s friendship. The worm gets very sad that he can’t grow wings like the caterpillar. But then he realizes the caterpillar would never survive without leaves and the worm keeps the soil healthy so the tree will grow leaves. It’s a clever, fun, friendly, lovely book. It does an excellent job of demonstrating how everyone has a place in this world, even if you’ve had a hard time finding it. It may sound a bit crazy to say about a picture book, but it’s almost a tear-jerker.
Recommended for kids ages 4-6
Great for children that like stories about friends or are struggling to find their place.
Glass Wings: A Butterfly’s Story
This is a cute story about a butterfly whose see-through wings take on the appearance of everything she flies by. One day the wind sweeps her into a big city and she wonders how she will eat and survive. With the help of some other bugs, she finds a small plot of land and lives happily in her new garden. The book teaches us that we can navigate and survive a sometimes-scary, new world. The bright splotches of color remind us how butterflies make the world a more beautiful place.
There is a wonderful introductory paragraph about the science behind (real!) glass-winged butterflies.
The book has a few pages about pollution in the city. If the environment is a priority for your kids, you could use this as a starting point for discussing pollution.
Recommended for kids ages 3-5
Great for children that need some reassurance about the scary world or children who are interested in the environment.
Fancy Nancy, Bonjour Butterfly
This book has it all: great illustrations and a wonderful plot. It was definitely one of our favorites. Fancy Nancy loves butterflies so she’s super excited when her best friend invites her to a butterfly party. Unfortunately, her parents take her to Paris instead. However, she’s able to overcome her disappointment and discovers France has butterflies as well! The author does an excellent job of explaining a few basic French words during the story.
Recommended for kids ages 4-7
Great for children that are interested in France or foreign language. Also, better suited for girls than boys.
This is a story about a classroom of kids who watch caterpillars transform into butterflies. It goes through the whole process and feels more “informative” than most of the other books on our list. It has big font for new readers to read on their own, but there are quite a few tough words related to butterflies, so you might want to read it with your child the first time.
Recommended for kids 4+ (or 7+ if they want to read it on their own).
Great for children who are interested in the amazing metamorphosis of a butterfly.
The gorgeous use of language in the book reminds me of poetry. A young girl is trying to figure out what a strange, orange cloud in the sky is. Eventually she realizes the cloud is a group of migrating monarch butterflies. This is definitely the “oldest” book on my list and there is a two-page guide to the butterfly migration at the back of the book.
Recommended for kids ages 8+
Great for children who are interested in butterfly migrations.
Other Butterfly Books For Kids
Red Butterfly: How a Princess Smuggled the Secret of Silk Out of China
This story is told like an old Chinese legend with a beautiful Chinese illustrations. However, it is out of print (when I wrote this) and both my wife and I had a hard time getting into it. It felt like it was written more for teens or adults than children. However, it might be worth a try if your child enjoys butterflies and China.
Worms for Lunch?
This is a fun book discussing what different animals eat (trying to figure out who would eat worms for lunch!) It’s very cute and clever, but it’s not really about butterflies. I included it because it was fun and it would be great if your kid likes all sorts of insects/animals and you wanted a lighter, fun book for them.