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Open House for Butterflies
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Open House for Butterflies

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4.41  ·  Rating Details ·  278 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
Continuing a two-year program to bring back twenty-two Maurice Sendak treasures long out of print, our second season of publication highlights one of the most successful author-illustrator pairings of all time. A pioneer of great children's literature, Ruth Krausspublished more than thirty books for children during a career that spanned forty years. Krauss and Sendak colla ...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published December 4th 2001 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1960)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Antoine
"The minute you meet some people, you know that you will dislike their mothers." Surely this is one of the greatest truths ever revealed in literature.
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
Apparently I've never added/reviewed this book until now ... How'd that happen? This is one of my favorite children's books in the world. Maurice Sendak's illustrations are super adorable and Ruth Krauss's text is very charming and laugh-out-loud funny. Just a few highlights:









I'm pretty shocked to see this has so few ratings because I think it deserves way more recognition than that. Go buy this for all the kids you know. Buy it for yourself. It's fantastic. Really.
Jane
Apr 21, 2008 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
I love this book--"A screaming song is good to know in case you need to scream." and "A baby makes the parents, before that they're just people" Pick it up for 30 seconds for a short hit of delight.
Kathryn
Jan 26, 2009 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An odd little book, full of random thoughts such as "It is good to carry some milk with you in case you decide to pretend to be a kitten." I found it unusual, amusing, and strangely absorbing even though there really was no story here.
Courtney
Apr 04, 2008 Courtney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone that still has a bit of a child inside of them.
Recommended to Courtney by: Aunt Chris
Shelves: kids-books
I could, and should, base my entire life on the wisdom found in this book. If you ever buy a childrens book... make it this one.

"The minute you meet some people, you know that you will dislike their mothers."

"If I had a tail, I wouldn't be a lion. I might eat too many people and then I'd get sick. If I had a tail I'd pull my wagon with it while I was picking flowers."
Dianna
May 24, 2010 Dianna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very similar to A Hole Is to Dig. "A baby is so you could be the boss."
Karen
Jul 26, 2015 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom
Ellie read to mom....7/26/15

Ellie read to us. Jacob does not care for this book..krb 1/24/17
Crissy
Mar 17, 2016 Crissy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Did not like it and actually couldn't finish it aloud. :/
Shawn Thrasher
I loved A Hole is to Dig very much. This book was certainly as enjoyable, and remarkably thought-provoking. Krauss, with Sendak's help, takes us out of storybook land into a world that Thoreau would have been quite at home in. Picture books can be philosophical - the best ones usually are. But this combination of Krauss and Sendak is special. The book starts with this bit of rebellious prose: "a screaming song is good to know in case you need to scream" and goes on from there, sometimes wonderfu ...more
Daniel
Jul 11, 2011 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been biking to salvation army, back and forth, all day long. On my last trip, at the bottom of a box outside the drop-off chute, i found this beautiful and lovely book. I love Sendak so much, anything and everything he does. The writing is phenomenal though and could have stood all by itself. It's all nonsequitur sandwiches, fulled with the sweetest little moralizing. They're all gems like "A screaming song is good to know in case you need to scream"" or "I think a race looks prettier when ...more
Patricia
Another Ruth Krauss book for children, delightfully illustrated by Maurice Sendak, that is similar to Pablo Neruda's Book of Questions. It's charming but really nonsensical! My favorite pages: "There should be a parade when a baby is born;" "A baby is so you could be the boss;" "A wedding song is good to know in case you're at a wedding;" "A baby makes the mother and father - otherwise they're just plain people;" "A queen suit is a good thing to have in case you're planning to be a queen when yo ...more
Vivian
Oct 27, 2011 Vivian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
t's our second week of Sendak Sensation Story Times! What a wonderful opportunity to feature Ruth Krauss's delightful duo Open House For Butterflies and A Hole is To Dig, both illustrated by Maurice Sendak.

The books do not have a story line. They are a collection of little wisdoms, such as "A good thing to think about is what kind of face to make when you say please" (no punctuation throughout the book).

The delightful illustrations are too small to share with a crowd so we enlarged a few favori
...more
Allie
This is definitely not the narrative I expect from picture books. In fact there is no narrative at all, just kind of a stream of consciousness of kid-thoughts and insights. This book appeared on my radar, not because of our recent Sendak exhibit, but because I subscribe to Maria Popova's Brain Pickings newsletter and she uses the illustrations from this book all the time!

I'm definitely glad I read it, though I don't quite know in what context I would read it to/with a child.
Elizabeth S
Oct 19, 2009 Elizabeth S rated it liked it
Shelves: f-picture
Cute, fun book. For adults. At least I loved it, but my kids didn't get it. It is full of fun, little aphorisms about kids. Things like, "Babies dance with their feet in the air." And a drawing of a baby on its back, kicking, with a little girl dancing next to the baby. Since the drawings are by Maurice Sendak, they really take the show. The kids obviously wanted a story. Which this isn't.
Katie Fitzgerald
I love Ruth Krauss's books that are based on the speech of actual children. More children's authors should pay attention to how kids speak! Here are just some of the great quotable quotes in this book:

A baby is a convenient thing to be.

A screaming song is good to know in case you need to scream.

Open house for butterflies is a good thing to have.

And the Sendak illustrations make the delicious weirdness of this book complete!
Christina
Aug 26, 2014 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christina by: http://www.brainpickings.org/index.ph...
3.5 stars. Quirky, somewhat whimsical and cute book about childhood with nice illustrations by Maurice Sendak. I'm not sure if this is for children or adults. Maybe both? The text is made up of clever statements such as, "You should make a sad face when you meet a crocodile.e" and "The minute you meet some people you know you will hate their mothers." Originally published 1960.
Nuria Coe
Sep 19, 2016 Nuria Coe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Ruth Krauss always had a way of engaging in conversation with children at their very essence. There is no sugar-coating, lecturing, or patronizing language in any of her books, and it is especially so in this collection of non-sequiturs, deliciously rendered by the inimitably Maurice Sendak.
Each page is a little pearl. I LOVE this book.
Chiara Fudge Atoyebi
My daughter is two and loves books and this book has a lot of family imagery so you can follow along with your child to point out mommy and daddy and baby. The story line isn't really for a toddler and the pictures were sketched so there were some parts my almost 4 year old liked and some my 2 year old. But she is not an average book listener :-)
Heila
Sep 03, 2014 Heila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
How can you not like a book, with a title like that? This one has these super-funny & cute little nuggets. Things like, "It's good to know a screaming song for if you need to scream." I've read it through twice already and maybe will another couple of times before returning it. Might even be one to buy.
Nativida
Mar 16, 2014 Nativida rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-book, empathy
Love the illustrations by Sendak. The text is a fun interpretation of the ways our little people think and process their world, "When you're very very tired just throw your tired away", and "One thing no good about a big brother is when you hit him he hits you right back".
Sushma
May 14, 2015 Sushma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh the preciousness of it - such a charming little book! The illustrations are brilliant, and I was giggling through the pages! Thoroughly enjoyable, I wouldn't call it just a children's book, it's a book for all ages.
Rebecca
Oct 05, 2007 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has been one of my favorite books for as long as I can remember. It doesn't have a "story" really- but it has lots of "good things to know," and it makes me happy. Maurice Sendak's art adds to the wonderful charm of the book.
Danielle
Jun 30, 2014 Danielle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
This book is a bizarre and lovely wonder.
Aric
Jun 02, 2016 Aric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely lovely. Makes you want to be a kid again.
Lauren
Aug 16, 2014 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, picture-books
Want to copy pages from this book and stick them all over my wall.
Natalia Ortega-Brown
Great book to quote and do text innovations
Sarah Middlestead
Charming!!

Eli: 20!! Abby: 5
Cheryl
Jan 21, 2017 Cheryl marked it as for-the-sony  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: to-enjoy-again
open library
Beth
Nov 14, 2008 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful illustrations, and just so weird. This and A Hole is to Dig would be great baby shower gifts for a literary sort. Some pages would also make cute art for a baby's room.
Zaneta
Dec 11, 2012 Zaneta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
like reliving my childhood. Childlike, simple, perfect.
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“You should make a sad face when you meet a crocodile” 7 likes
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