Red Butterfly

How a Princess Smuggled the Secret of Silk out of China
Deborah Noyes
Sophie Blackall
2 147 483 647
Candlewick Press
Sewn Hardcover
Number of pages: 
32 pages
Grade / Age level: 

When I first read aloud Mary Daly's First Timeline to the children, it was the first time I had ever heard of the story of the young Chinese Princess and the cup of tea where the silk strands first unravel revealing themselves... such a captivating story.

Then Mary asked me to illustrate it for wider publication... and I just loved doing the Chinese teacup!

Well, last week at the library, browsing as I always do through the new picture books, I found a Chinese princess and the tale of the discovery of silk! I knew it as soon as I glanced at the cover.

Red Butterfly: How a Princess Smuggled the Secret of Silk out of China doesn't quite tell the same story as Mary's First Timeline-- but Mary's story, an old Chinese legend, is included in the Author's Note at the of the beautifully illustrated hardcover.

The story of the book, also based on an old Chinese legend, happens later--when silk was part of Chinese life and had yet to be known to the rest of the world. The Princess, about to leave her homeland to be married to a foreign prince, decides to secretly take with her something that will always remind her of home.

A darling picture book, to be enjoyed by kids of all ages, and bringing forth life in a different culture, a long time ago, and how materials things such as silk are easily taken for granted today.

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