Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly
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Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  338 ratings  ·  103 reviews
This School Library Journal Best Book of the Year celebrates everything butterfly, from migration to metamorphosis! It's hard to be Velma entering first grade. That's because everyone has marvelous memories of her two older sisters, who were practically perfect first graders, and no one even notices Velma. But all that changes on a class trip to the butterfly conservatory,...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 9th 2007 by Schwartz & Wade (first published October 1st 2007)
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2010 Monarch Award master list
The end papers depict an army of caterpillars on the front and a swarm of butterflies on the back, with Velma herself, an orange-tipped gratch, emerging over the course of the story from her older sisters’ shadows into a first grader with talents and interests of her own. She finds her 5 minutes of fame in the Butterfly Conservatory when a Monarch butterfly, orange like Velma’s hair, lands on her finger and refuses to leave. Everyone knows you can’t touch a butterf...more
Velma Gratch, the first grader whom everyone will remember.
Annette Gonzalez
Dec 07, 2009 Annette Gonzalez rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: early childhood
K-2. Velma Gratch, the youngest of three sisters is entering first grade. When we first meet Velma she is feeling left out in school because the teachers seem to remember her sisters Freida, who had a voice like an angel and Fiona, who ran like the devil. The two older sisters also had a penchant for math and spelling. It seems everyone at school,including the class guinea pig, could remember the older Gratch sisters but no one could even remember Velma's name. Velma then tries to do the opposit...more
(NS) Lauren
Grade Level: K-2

Velma Gratch is the youngest of the three Gratch sisters, and has a tough act to follow as she enters first grade. Her older sisters are remembered fondly by Velma's teachers, making her eager to stand out from the crowd. At first Velma seeks out attention in negative ways, but eventually develops her own unique identity as she becomes entranced by the beautiful world of butterlies.

Students with siblings will relate especially well to this story of finding your own special niche...more
Jun 06, 2014 Dana added it
Shelves: state-awards
Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly is a story about a first grade girl named Velma, she's the youngest of three sisters. Her two sisters Frieda and Fiona were good at sports, reading, singing and practically everything! All of the sisters past teachers remembered them for how great they were. [show pictures pointing out their achievements] Can any of you remember a time when you felt like you wanted to empress someone?

Velma, the youngest sister, gets herself in trouble and called into the...more
This was a really cute story with some great facts for kids on butterflies. Velma, the youngest of the Gratch girls just wants to be noticed and remembered by the adults at school. A tricky thing for any younger sibling. I loved the way she attempts to find her own individuality and eventually stands out because of her own interests. As a middle child with both older and younger sisters, I appreciate her struggle. I also loved how big the book was, giving young kids a chance to really see all th...more
Miss Balzaretti
Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly by Alan Madison and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, tells the story of young Velma Gartch and how her curiosity of science and butterflies takes her on a way cool adventure. Velma is the youngest of the three Gratch sisters, and like her older sisters, she wants to be remembered. In her science class, Velma discovers her love for science and butterflies. She learns all she can and on a field trip to the conservatory to see butterflies, a monarch attaches to h...more
Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly.

Monarch Award Nominee for 2010
K-4th grade

Hawkes's illustrations of caterpillars on the inside cover and butterflies on the back cover represent the main character's metamorphosis. Velma is struggling to find her own unique talents and abilities as the unnoticed, youngest of three Gratch sisters. At the beginning of the story Velma is like a caterpillar and she eventually undergoes a metamorphosis into a butterfly. The illustrations vary in size from large...more
Remember first grade? Does your teacher remember you? Everyone remembers Frieda and Fiona, the older Gratch sisters, but no one notices Velma. They can't even remember her name! Velma is very sad and doesn't think she belongs in first grade. She isn't a good singer (like Frieda) or good at sports (like Fiona). She likes science, and she LOVES butterflies. When Mr. Plexipuss takes the class to the Butterfly Conservatory, Velma is all aflutter. When a monarch butterfly befriends Velma, what happen...more
Most younger siblings will tell you: an older brother or sister can be a hard act to follow. It never fails – big bro or sis make all the right choices, get the best grades, and generally make it impossible for anyone to top them. “Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly” tells the story of this familiar family struggle with honesty and humor.

Velma is the youngest of three Gratch sisters, and is desperate to make her mark. The accomplishments of Fiona and Frieda read like a how-to guide for hogg...more
Velma Gratch is the youngest of the three Gratch sisters and is entering the first grade. But it's not very much fun since all her teachers know about her are the good things her older sisters did. Velma tries everything to get special attnention just for her, but nothing seems to work. Then her science class starts to learn about butterfiles and Velma is fascinated. She learns everything she can about them and then she gets the fabulous news that her class is going to the butterfly conservatory...more
This picturebook, appropriate for Nursery-Primary readers, tells the tale of a girl who, despite feeling overshadowed by her memorable and accomplished older sisters, finds a way of standing out due to her growing fascination for science, and specifically for butterflies. How satisfying it is to read a story with a female protagonist who is interested in science! Velma Gratch is charmingly eccentric, and the illustrations of her are adorable. My three-year-old daughter giggled over every page be...more
Reviewed at:

Summary: Everyone remembers Velma's older two sisters, so Velma is trying to find a way to stand out herself now that she is in 1st grade.

What I Think: Velma is such a fun girl! I truly enjoyed her as a character. As a reader, I found her journey endearing and believable. Now, I liked this book even more as a teacher! First, it deals with choices and how standing out in a negative way is not a positive thing. Also, it is educational while stil...more
Michelle Knudsen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brittany Davis

This book is one that I just cannot wait to share with my students when we are studying the process of a butterfly, migration, metamorphosis, etc. It is called Velma Gratch & the way cool butterfly written by Alan Madison and Kevin Hawkes. This book is about a first grander named Velma, she is the youngest of the three sisters and she is blending in their prior achievements. Eventually Velma realizes she is really good and science and loves butterflies and one ends up getting on her finger f...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Poor Velma Gratch is overshadowed by her two older sisters. When her class visits a butterfly conservatory, a monarch butterfly lands on her finger and refuses to move. After days of carrying a butterfly around, Velma is finally able to release the monarch butterfly to migrate to Mexico.

My second grade students have been learning about and hatching butterflies in class. They made a lot of connections to the text and enjoyed seeing Velma's own metamorphosis.

The perfect book for my class, but no...more
Audience: This book is for primary elementary students. Because of its information on the cycles of life of a butterfly, I think it closely relates to 1st through 3rd graders.

Appeal: I think this book would appeal to 1st through 3rd graders because it is about a young first grader who gets intrigued by butterflies. It goes through the process of caterpillars to butterflies that I think kids will enjoy.

Application: I would use this book for a science lesson. I would get the children some caterp...more
Apr 09, 2013 Alyssa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Young children 5 to 7
Shelves: read-to-quinn
Quinn, 6.75 years, rated this picture 3 stars. I thought it was a really sweet book that took a cool turn at the end. It is about a young girl who is the youngest of 3 sisters and just starting school. She is somewhat haunted by her sisters accomplishments and wants to be known for who she is and her talents. There are some sweet points in this book such as when she is trying to remember these big words such as "migration" and repeats them to herself only to still mis-pronounce them. My daughter...more
Delightful story about the youngest of three sisters trying to find her own identity, her own thing to be known for! Wonderful vocabulary and information on butterflies!
I just loved this sweet story about Velma, the youngest of the three Gratch sisters. While her older sisters are still remembered by all the teachers for their accomplishments, poor Velma is overlooked, and if noticed, compared to her sisters. This goes on until Velma has an experience with a butterfly on a field trip that not only gives her an identity of her own, but helps her realize that she is "way cool."

I loved the smooth writing style of Alan Madison and the fun and quirky illustrations,...more
Velma Gratch, youngest of the Gratch sisters, feels completely overshadowed by her smart and athletic older sisters. In an effort to be noticed at school, Velma underperforms, but her teacher and principal gently set her straight and soon Velma finds a new passion: butterflies. When a monarch in a butterfly sanctuary finds a new home on her index finger Velma feels special, indeed. There is much to like about this one: a quirky little heroine, charming illustrations, subtle messages, and encoura...more
Samantha Sebastian
This book is "WAY COOL!' I loved every second of it. For this being the first time I've ever read this book, and being almost 20 years old, I can honestly say that I can relate to a kids book. The idea of having to make a name for yourself at a school your older siblings have already been to is something very real to me. I have never read a book about this topic and I think that it is a great idea for kids to know that you don't always have to do exactly what your siblings did just to be great l...more
Velma is a little girl who wants to stand out to her teachers. She is living in the light of her two older sisters who have already impressed her teachers. Velma discovers the lesson about being who you are and being recognized for doing good.

Good science about a caterpillars metamorphosis into a butterfly as well.

The illustrations are fun too. Velma is a unique little gal and she is well depicted by the illustrator. The inside font and back covers show illustrations of caterpillars and butterf...more
Velma is struggling to find her own identity. She has two older sisters: Fiona (known for "running like the devil" and being a spectacular speller) and Frieda (known for her angelic voice & her mad math skills). No one seems to remember Velma. At first, she strives to be remembered even if it's for something negative. Then, in science, they begin to study butterflies. Velma learns as much as she can about butterflies and on the class field trip to The Butterfly Conservatory, she becomes "mem...more
Cute story about a little girl who wants to be remembered and known and a way cool butterfly!
Nice story about Velma finding a different identity from her elder sisters. And the butterflies are, in fact, way cool.
I liked this story. I liked how Velma wanted to be known for who she was and not as the youngest of her sisters and how she learned that just being known wasn't good enough...she needed to be known for something good. Another thing I liked about this story was how she tried to learn more information about a topic on her own and how she tried to remember difficult vocabulary. The pictures represented the story well and added to the enjoyment of the story. A good read for anyone interested in butt...more
Lisa Vegan
Dec 11, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: younger siblings and those who appreciate butterflies
Recommended to Lisa by: Abigail A.
This book’s message will resonate with younger siblings who feel overshadowed by their older sisters or brothers. The story is engaging and the pictures are worthy of a story where beautiful butterflies play a large role. I love how science is Velma’s best subject and appreciated the information given about the nature of butterflies. There’s just the right amount of humor and pathos, and Velma and her sisters are all depicted as likeable girls. This would make a good book for discussion within f...more
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