How to Befriend a Butterfly 06/08/20
Publisher: Lion Children's
This uplifting book focuses on a sibling relationship, as a little boy affectionately describes his older sister. Both children are very three-dimensional and eminently likeable.
Clemmie is severely disabled, but there is no sense of pity or pathos about the book, rather a feeling of equality and mutual appreciation and respect. All the things she cannot do (such as walking or talking) are described matter-of-factly alongside the fact that she can’t cook macaroni or pilot a plane either. To Toby, she is definitely the best sister in the world – she’s kind, she doesn’t eat his crayons and she never pulls his hair like some big sisters do. Plus, they can fly to the moon together and she comforts him when there’s a thunderstorm.
Elliott (herself a parent of a disabled child) has succeeded in creating a book which is touching and yet not over-sentimental. Her rich illustrations complete the package, with a sumptuous and yet contemporary quality.
The overriding message is that her brother adores Clemmie unequivocally – not because she is disabled, but just because.