Lois Ehlert is the author and illustrator of many wonderful children’s book, most having to do with nature. She creates the art for her books by cutting and pasting paper, fabric and objects onto the pages.

I have chosen two of Ehlert’s books to read during the month of May. The simple design and clear text of Planting a Rainbow is just what the gardener ordered, as gardens are imagined and planted. She takes the reader through buying and planting bulbs, seeds and seedlings, all in the colors of the rainbow. She names specific flowers: tiger lily, daffodil, poppy, violet, carnation, zinnia, marigold, morning glory, etc.  and then illustrates the correct planting order to create the rainbow. The details in her simple, cut out style are remarkable. On one page, she illustrates the seeds planted in the ground and each seed shape is a reflection of the real seeds.

Waiting for Wings also takes place in a garden. Though the flowers share the stage with the butterflies. The book starts with eggs hidden in a field of flowers, these eggs hatch into leaf-eating caterpillars. When the caterpillars have had their fill of dark green leaves, they form chrysalises and transform into butterflies. These bright, beautiful caterpillars fly in search of garden flowers, where they eat nectar, and lay more eggs.

Each book is chock full of useful plant and butterfly information. Information you can use to teach your children more about garden plants and the colorful butterflies that visit our gardens. In Waiting for Wingsthere are pages devoted to butterfly identification, flower identification  and information about growing a butterfly garden. Write and let us know if you plant a rainbow or make a garden for butterflies.

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