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Butterflies Are Pretty ... Gross!

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Warning--this book contains top-secret information about butterflies! Prepare to be shocked and grossed out by this hilarious and totally true picture book introduction to a fascinating insect.

Butterflies are beautiful and quiet and gentle and sparkly . . . but that's not the whole truth. Butterflies can be GROSS. And one butterfly in particular is here to let everyone know! Talking directly to the reader, a monarch butterfly reveals how its kind is so much more than what we think. Did you know some butterflies enjoy feasting on dead animals, rotten fruit, tears and even poop? Some butterflies are loud, like the Cracker butterfly. Some are stinky -- the smell scares predators away. Butterflies can be sneaky, like the ones who pretend to be ants to get free babysitting.

This hilarious and refreshing book with silly and sweet illustrations explores the science of butterflies and shows that these insects are not the stereotypically cutesy critters we often think they are -- they are fascinating, disgusting, complicated and amazing creatures.

36 pages, Hardcover

First published April 6, 2021

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About the author

Rosemary Mosco

14 books75 followers
Rosemary makes books and cartoons that connect people with the natural world. Her Bird and Moon nature comics won the National Cartoonists Society’s award for Best Online Short Form Comic and were the subject of an award-winning museum exhibit. She makes best-selling science books for kids and adults and gives keynotes at birding festivals. She’s written and drawn for The New York Times, Audubon, PBS kids’ Elinor Wonders Why, Ranger Rick, and more. She’s represented by Seth Fishman. Her favorite glacial landform is the esker.

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5 stars
114 (36%)
4 stars
150 (47%)
3 stars
49 (15%)
2 stars
2 (<1%)
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0 (0%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 69 reviews
Profile Image for Briar's Reviews.
1,788 reviews500 followers
August 8, 2020
This book is utterly charming and amusing. It has a sneaky feel, with readers peeking inside to learn all of the gross things about butterflies. We all know they're pretty, but they can be disgusting as well. This is a great picture book with lots of non-fiction knowledge. I highly recommend grabbing this book! It's fun, sweet and simple to read. Plus, you'll learn something.

Four out of five stars.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.
Profile Image for Abby Johnson.
3,373 reviews309 followers
May 2, 2021
Yes, butterflies are pretty, but there are plenty of gross facts about butterflies, too! This book would make an excellent school age readaloud and if I was still doing afterschool storytimes, this is definitely one I would take. The narrator addresses the audience, frequently warning the reader to stop reading the book unless they want to be truly weirded out. Facts include tidbits like some butterflies eat poop, some butterflies have faces on their butts to trick their enemies, and that a caterpillar's skin turns into the shell of its chrysalis (I did not know that!!). Great for kids who like gross out science and a fun addition to your spring readalouds.
Profile Image for John.
86 reviews
October 27, 2021
A fun little picture book with great art detailing the horrors of entomology for a younger crowd. Butterflies are beautiful creatures, but also do a lot of gross things like drink juice from rotting fish (something I have personally witnessed). But really, aren't we all a bit icky sometimes, and isn't that okay?
Profile Image for Tara.
1,220 reviews
July 30, 2020
I received an arc of this title from NetGalley for an honest review. This book is perfect for those kids (all of them) who like gross facts about animals. Who knew that butterflies ate poop and tears, the horror. I have a nephew that is going to love this.
Profile Image for Alyssa ❀.
138 reviews11 followers
July 23, 2020
This was such a fun little read, and it was quite informative as well.
I didn't know any of the fun facts about butterflies that are illustrated, quite beautifully, in this book.
I let my butterfly obsessed toddler look at this with me, and I think he appreciated it as much as I did.

Alongside beautiful illustrations, the wording was entertaining and easy to follow for children. It flowed smoothly and wrapped up with a brief list and description of the types of butterflies mentioned throughout the book.

I would absolutely purchase this for my son's personal library, and I will look out for more works by this author.
Wonderful little book.

✨Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada and NetGalley for this ARC. I received a free copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and genuine.✨
Profile Image for Sarah Sammis.
7,180 reviews215 followers
June 14, 2021
I like that this book focuses on the exceptions rather than the rules. There are probably dozens of butterfly books that cover the basic life cycle with the big reveal at the end of a gorgeous butterfly emerging from a cocoon. It's refreshing to read a book that decides to dive deeper into butterflies and the many ways that different butterflies don't fit their beautiful reputation.

Profile Image for April Gray.
1,310 reviews7 followers
June 20, 2021
There is just so much to love about this book: the artwork is quirky and colorful, our monarch butterfly guide is pretty amusing, and he makes learning about the uglier traits of beautiful butterflies a lot of fun, and it's full of all kinds of gross facts that will grab kids' attention. At the end of the book, there's a chart with thumbnail photos of the butterflies mentioned in the book, along with additional information about them and their geographic range. Great fun!

#ButterfliesArePrettyGross #NetGalley
Profile Image for Ryan.
429 reviews
July 15, 2021
Explores the grosser side of butterfly habits that aren't brought up too often when discussing them, though it is not as gross as the title makes it out to be, but passable.
Profile Image for Leah.
120 reviews28 followers
May 4, 2022
This is a goofy and informative narrative/creative nonfiction book!
Profile Image for Melanie McFarlane.
Author 12 books151 followers
July 28, 2020
There is so much here for a child to learn about buttlerflies -- and in such a fun way that I even enjoyed it myself!
With beautiful illustrations, and easy text for all levels of readers, kids will love this nonfiction book.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
1,469 reviews52 followers
April 23, 2021
As a fan of Rosemary Mosco, I've been waiting to read this book since I first heard it was coming out (I think in September-ish of 2020), especially since I have a soft spot for this type of nature and science kidlit that prides itself on grossness. This definitely delivered!

The art style is really fun, with lots of vibrant colours and enticing details that emphasise both the beauty and the grossness of butterflies. The writing style is tantalising, asking readers if they're REALLY sure they want to know how weird and gross butterflies are. It has lots of fun and gross facts about some of the lesser-known details of butterflies, and it included information I didn't know as an adult.

This is a fun little book, perfect for all the kids out there with an appreciation for both prettiness and grossness.
Profile Image for Janet.
2,413 reviews27 followers
November 7, 2021
Interesting idea to focus on what some people may think of as the gross aspects of a butterfly’s life. For example what are two ways butterflies obtain salt? This title will catch some children’s attention just because it uses the word gross in the title.
Profile Image for Jessica.
833 reviews
March 23, 2022
More facts and less “you can stop now, it’s going to be gross” would have made this a 4 or 5 star book. Loved the concept, but not the execution.
Profile Image for Cheriee Weichel.
2,411 reviews34 followers
March 28, 2021
My full review of this book includes images from the book. You can read it here: https://dickenslibrary.blogspot.com/2...

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. It will be released April 6, 2021 by Tundra Books & Penguin Random House Canada
If all you want to know about butterflies is how beautiful they are, don't bother with this book.

The interactive style breaks the fourth wall. A narrator warns us not to go on if we don't want to learn just how gross these creatures can be. Butterflies let us know what life is like from their perspective. In the process, this witty, entertaining book is chock full of educational information about butterflies.

Be brave and turn that first page.

You will learn that:
some butterflies eat rotten food
they taste with their feet
some butterflies are drab while others are loud
they are metamorphic shape shifters
they are tricksters

And that my friends is just the start of what this book will teach you about these fascinating creatures!

A double page spread in the back matter gives additional information about the different species identified in the body of the text.

Jacob Souva's artwork adds to the hilarity of this resource. He starts his images as sketches and finished them off digitally.

BTW, this book is kid approved. I was forced to read it to my 3 1/2 year old grandkids numerous times while they visited during spring break.
Profile Image for Adam Williams.
Author 8 books10 followers
March 6, 2022
Have you ever met someone famous and were surprised by how weird they were? This book is built on a similar premise. Most people see a butterfly flitting around and can't help but think how pretty they are. Unlike a mosquito, bee, or fly, most people would welcome a butterfly landing on their arm. But this book exposes many gross and unsavory tidbits about butterflies while maintaining all of the aspects that I look for in a good picture book. The illustrations are fun. The characters interact with the reader by addressing them directly (You can still turn back. You can close this book. It's up to you. Ok, prepare to get weirded out...). It is informative AND entertaining. This is the kind of book that I could imagine my son reading when he was a kid and then sharing some of the facts at the dinner table (Did you know that butterflies taste with their feet?), then go back and read it again to see what else he could glean from the book.
Profile Image for Storytime With Stephanie.
350 reviews7 followers
January 7, 2021
Who doesn’t love watching a beautiful butterfly fluttering on a warm summer breeze. They truly are beautiful; but have you ever wondered about the shadier side of a butterfly. In Butterflies are Pretty...Gross! Rosemary Mosco and Jacob Souva share interesting facts about butterflies: the good, the bad and the downright disgusting!

Non-fiction story books are a huge hit with our readers! They love learning new and interesting facts in fun and unique ways. In this story, we get a butterfly as a narrator and a storyline with a similar vibe to There’s a Monster at the End of this Book. The butterfly keeps warning the reader about how things are going to get weird. It’s a fun book to use to share all kinds of information about butterflies.
Profile Image for Angela Matson.
6 reviews
October 24, 2022
This picture book would be a fun engaging way to include children's literature in science. It is told by a butterfly that engages the reader by crossing the 4th wall. There is dialogue and humor as the reader learns about butterflies. The illustrations vary from scientific figure type pictures, old science film and full page illustrations. The illustrations are whimsical and engaging, in a style that you would expect from a children's picture book and not necessarily from a science book. The book has additional science content in the back matter of the book to learn more about the seven butterflies mentioned in the story. This book should be added to any class learning about butterflies.
Profile Image for Becky B.
7,378 reviews94 followers
October 21, 2022
Do you think butterflies are all cute and pretty nectar eaters? Well, then don't open this book. Because it has the full truth about butterflies, and some of their unsavory appetites, weird habits, and strange looks.

Rosemary Mosco teaches all about various kinds of atypical butterflies in a way that is highly entertaining (and shhh, also highly educational). I learned about some types of butterflies I'd never heard about before, the tone of the book made me smile, the artwork is going to suck in readers, and I love the conclusion of the book. Highly recommended to curious little readers, reluctant nonfiction readers, and butterfly studiers.
Profile Image for Barbra.
1,200 reviews4 followers
April 24, 2021
This non-fiction book is hilarious. Just when you think you know all about butterflies, yucky truths are revealed. After being warned to turn back, children will discover some shocking facts as they read on. From feasting on the dead and rotten, to disguising themselves like poop, we learn butterflies are stinky and sneaky. Cute, funny, entertaining and educational, this book will be enjoyed by insect lovers of all ages.
Profile Image for Book_R.E.C.S.
37 reviews
April 27, 2021
My favorite books are ones that are informative and funny. In this book the butterfly narrator keeps warning us about the gross things to come. Once you continue on you will learn fascinating butterfly facts that are indeed a bit gross in a very amusing way. I also loved the glossary at the end that showed all different type of butterflies!
I recommend this one for kids who love to learn, especially about insects!
Profile Image for Amy.
2,647 reviews23 followers
May 23, 2021
This book made me laugh out loud in multiple places! A butterfly narrator is taking the reader into the heart of the REAL story about butterflies and it is shocking. The dialogue between the narrator and reader is great and the facts about these insects that we never talk about are truly fascinating! I am always looking for non-fiction books that I can use in preschool storytime and this is going to be a fun one!
Profile Image for elstaffe.
801 reviews2 followers
April 22, 2022
The art in this is absolutely gorgeous--the illustrator's bio says he loved cramming in texture but keeping colors simple, and it really works. I initially was like "you have Rosemary Mosco for a book project, why aren't you having her illustrate as well" but this was so pretty. Also a great book for any kids who are into butterflies in that "yes I WOULD like to know as many specific random details about this one animal as possible" way.
Profile Image for Natalie.
850 reviews
November 11, 2022
This is a butterfly book like none other that I've read before. Not only are they pretty, but they are pretty gross too! From things that they eat, how they smell, what they look like, some butterflies are sure to surprise you.

This was a funny read and sure to bring out lots of laughs as the words "butt" and "poop" make a few appearances throughout the pages. But the facts are definitely interesting and surprising, making this a very worthwhile read.
Profile Image for Dina.
493 reviews
February 19, 2023
I have finally gotten around to read this book from our library, and I was pleasantly surprised! Non-fiction in an engaging format, and of course all the little known facts that kids would enjoy! The author includes backmatter on the butterflies introduced throughout the book--a nice addition. Overall, two thumbs up for this book! I can see using this book in a lesson comparing a fiction and nonfiction books about butterflies.
Profile Image for H..
299 reviews1 follower
August 28, 2021
Really lovely writing; factual but easy for children to follow, and the "top secret" approach of the butterfly narrator will make the information enticing for kids to learn. The illustrations were beautiful, but I wish the insect anatomy had been more accurate (especially the spider's) since this is a book introducing entomology to children.
Profile Image for Leilla.
161 reviews14 followers
April 20, 2022
My three year old neice adores this book. She thinks it's hilarious and has taken to telling people butterfly facts and acting out the butterfly life cycle.
I've read it to her more times than I can count.
It's beautifully illustrated, funny in a way that appeals to kids, and informative.
If your kid likes butterflies, this is the book for them
Profile Image for Amanda Brooke.
913 reviews7 followers
August 11, 2022
Nominated for the 2023 Washington Children's Choice Picture Book Award, I know a lot of teachers who will appreciate this book for their butterfly units. Not so much about the life cycle of butterflies, instead it's more about adaptations. Students will love the, you-don't-want-to-see-this humor. And it's gross, so get ready for the squeals!
Profile Image for Katelynne.
780 reviews11 followers
February 18, 2021
This book is going to make an excellent nonfiction read-aloud! With whimsical illustrations, this butterfly fact book is funny and interesting. I appreciated the "About the Butterflies in This Book" backmatter.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 69 reviews

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