Patricia Polacco takes on some of the hardest moments of history and transforms them into truly powerful and heartwarming tales that send readers into the past to experience the trials and hardships of other children during times of oppression. In T
he Butterfly, Polacco takes readers into the time of World War II where they meet a young girl named Monique.
When the Nazis come into town, it’s a very frightening time. No one knows what to expect, including Monique. Her village is just a small one in France, but that doesn’t seem to matter to the Nazis. Still, Monique does what she can to continue her life as though it were normal. Until a “ghost” appears. The would-be ghost is actually a girl named Sevrine. She is Jewish, and has been hiding in Monique’s basement, her family hidden away by Monique’s mother. The two become friends and play together during the night hours. However, the time comes when they are discovered, and the two families – and friends – must flee into the dark if they are to escape the frightening Nazis.
The Butterfly is a tale of friendship during hard times, a terrifying menace, and a daring escape for freedom and survival. Readers will be riveted to the story, glad that even through such times two girls are able to find comfort and even fun in each other’s company. Children’s books such as this should not be missed. The Butterfly is aptly named, as Polacco uses the creature as a symbol of freedom, which is exactly what both girls long to have, unhindered by Nazi power.
Illustrated in typical Polacco style, powerful and able to evoke plenty of emotions from readers, children ages 6 to 8 – and even higher – will be able to appreciate the tone and
words of this story. Historical and yet still suitable for kids, Polacco brings stories of the past to
life, most of which are based upon true events, and such is true with this particular tale as well. It teaches the past as well as offers hope through love and friendship, timeless themes that parents
as well as kids can easily get behind.