A Children’s Guide to Arctic Butterflies by M. Pelletier


  • Sandy Campbell




Pelletier, Mia. A Children’s Guide to Arctic Butterflies. Iqaluit, NU.: Inhabit Media, 2019.

This volume is part field guide and part art book.  Like many field guides, it begins with general material about butterflies: distinguishing them from moths, describing their life cycle and how they survive in winter.  The remainder of the book is made up of accounts for 12 different species. Each account has a genus species name, a physical description and a habitat description, and explanations of how they fly, what the caterpillar looks like, how they winter and a “fluttering fact.” Accompanying each account are two small images of the upper and lower side of the butterfly and a full-page image of the insect in its habitat.

The descriptions are detailed and interesting. For example, Pelletier tells us that, “Arctic butterflies can dry out all of their body tissues and freeze solid, thawing in the spring when the Arctic warms again.” The real joy of this book, however, is Danny Christopher’s illustrations. Christopher will be familiar to Inhabit Media readers as the illustrator of the Legend of the Fog and A Children’s Guide to Arctic Birds. Each full page illustration is a larger-than-life picture of a butterfly, rendered in muted tones that are lifelike, and match the environment. Christopher has replicated the natural greens, oranges and blacks of the lichen on rock. A child seeing a butterfly in the North could easily use this book to identify it.

This is an excellent contribution to Northern children’s wildlife books. Since some of the butterflies are circumpolar, this book is recommended for all Canadian school and public libraries and for those in other Arctic countries.

Highly recommended:  4 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Sandy Campbell 

Sandy is a Health Sciences Librarian at the University of Alberta, who has written hundreds of book reviews across many disciplines. Sandy thinks that sharing books with children is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give. 



How to Cite

Campbell, S. (2020). A Children’s Guide to Arctic Butterflies by M. Pelletier. The Deakin Review of Children’s Literature, 9(2). https://doi.org/10.20361/dr29492



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