Butterfly House
Author Eve Bunting

Picture and Story by Gina Jackson

Spring Day

    This is a story about a little girl who saw a black creature like a tiny worm, and saved it from a greedy jay who wanted it for lunch. She carried it inside on a green leaf.  Her grandpa told her that it was a larva and soon would be a butterfly.

    Her and her grandpa laid the larva on thistle leaves inside an empty jar, put in a twig for it to climb, then made a lid of soft white paper all stuch around with glue.  Her grandpa knew exatly what to do. "I raised a butterfly myself," he said, "when I was your age". She thought that it was strange that her grandpa was once young like her. They found a box. The little girl cut a window in its side, covered with screen. She looked inside and wondered what the larva would see or think. Her grandpa  knew exactly what to do.  They painted flowers that butterflies like best. the ones they can rest and drink the sweet, clear nectar. They glued the painted flowers inside the box, made a sky above, with small white cotton clouds. 

Through the screened window, she could see the garden house. Each day she put out leaves for food and watched her larva change. As the days went by, the butterfly grew. She was all spotted orange, black, and brown as if someone had shaken paints and let the drops fall down. Her grandpa knew when it was time. "Our Painted Lady," Grandpa said. "It's time." The little girl cried as she carried out the box and raised the lid.  The butterfly felt the first warm touch of sun, saw trees, felt breezes brush across her wings. She rose, then rested on a fig tree branch.  The little girl saw her fly. "Good-bye."  

    So many years have passed. The little girl grew as old as her grandpa was that spring. Every spring, her garden glows with flowers, the Painted Ladies come. They float and drift like blossoms.  Whe she walks, they flutter by to kiss her with a painted wing. Her neighbors cannot understand why the butterflies are so attracted to her. She smile and thinks that the Painted Ladies talk among themselves how their great-great-grandma was saved by her.  She thinks that the butterflies visit her each spring to give her back the love she gave to them so long ago. 

Critical Thinking Questions:

1. Why do you thing the Painted Ladies come to visit the girl each spring?
2. What is your favorite season and why?

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