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This one is about: Book Review: I Wish I Were a Butterfly

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Author: James Brown
Publisher: Gulliver Books
1250 Sixth Ave
San Diego CA 92101
Cost: $12.45

Reviewed by: Joanne Green

The littlest cricket didn't want to be a cricket any more. He didn't want to make music and he didn't want to go out into the sun. He was very sad because the old frog down at the pond had told him that he was the ugliest thing alive, and he believed it. And so the little cricket spoke to a number of other insects - but most importantly, he spoke to his friend, the Old One, who happened to be a spider. Through the discovery that transpires in this little story, the cricket learns that one person's opinion must not define our selves, and that each of us has something of beauty to contribute. Throughout the book the cricket repeats aloud that he wishes himself to be a butterfly, for the physical beauty he believes the butterfly to have. In the end, while the cricket makes music to entertain his friend, the spider, a passing butterfly looks at the one making the music and says, "I wish I were a cricket!"

The lessons of this book is subtle, but it is powerful. Our children, like the little cricket, need to look to their own unique strengths in order to define those qualities in themselves that are to be valued. I was happy that the cricket was able to find in himself a positive image without having to go through a physical change. He was a cricket in the beginning of the book and in the end, he was still a cricket. All that changed was his perception of himself. And that self perception in turn changed the perceptions of others.

This is a good book to share with younger school-aged kids, when they are just beginning to deal with the unkind comments of thoughtless peers. The story is gentle and the water-color illustrations are soft and exciting. I highly recommend this book for any child whose self perceptions may be colored by any real or perceived difference.

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