The 5 Best Children’s Books About Butterflies – Reviewed and Ranked

Written by Angie Menjivar
Published: September 28, 2022
© iStock.com/McKinneMike

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As you embark on your search for the best children’s books about butterflies, you’ll find there are many authors and illustrators devoted to creating incredible works kids can enjoy. Some books are really entertaining, with helpful rhymes and funny storylines. Others are more geared toward being educational and can help your kids get a real look into actual photographs of the different types of butterflies that exist. They can even learn the differences between butterflies and moths.

Other books incorporate fiction and fantasy while also teaching a little bit of math. If you have a butterfly-obsessed kiddo and you want to teach them about math, that type of book is a godsend. Some stories are perfect because the metamorphosis of a butterfly is a metaphor that children can find inspirational as they go through changes in life. You always have the option to go toward something that is really educational for maybe some junior scientists, and you can also explore deep life lessons encased within beautifully illustrated works.

Here, we highlight a few of these books, incorporating different themes and reading levels. We also provide a short guide on how to choose the right book, explaining the types of butterfly children’s books. Finally, we explain how to attract and grow your own butterflies and answer your most frequently asked questions.

  1. My, Oh My--A Butterfly!: All About Butterflies (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library)
  2. My, Oh My--A Butterfly!: All About Butterflies (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library)
    • 48 pages.
    • Customers recommend this book for children ages 3 through 6.
    • Part of the Cat in the Hat's Learning Library.
    Check Amazon
  3. Butterflies and Moths (Smithsonian Kids First Discovery Books)
  4. Butterflies and Moths (Smithsonian Kids First Discovery Books)
    • 12 pages.
    • Recommended for children ages 2 through 6.
    • Part of the Smithsonian Kids First Discovery series of books.
    Check Amazon
  5. Ten Magic Butterflies (McKellar Math)
  6. Ten Magic Butterflies (McKellar Math)
    • 40 pages.
    • Customers recommend this book for children ages 2 through 5.
    • Part of the McKellar Math series of books.
    Check Amazon
  7. Becoming a Butterfly
  8. Becoming a Butterfly
    • 28 pages.
    • A relatively new publication, having been published in 2021.
    • A story about wisdom, honesty, and patience.
    Check Amazon
  9. Butterflies for Kids: A Junior Scientist’s Guide to the Butterfly Life Cycle and Beautiful Species to Discover
  10. Butterflies for Kids: A Junior Scientist’s Guide to the Butterfly Life Cycle and Beautiful Species to Discover
    • 82 pages.
    • Customers recommend this book for children ages 5 through 9.
    • Part of the Junior Scientists series of books.
    Check Amazon

Best Overall: My, Oh My — A Butterfly!: All About Butterflies

Best Overall
My, Oh My--A Butterfly!: All About Butterflies (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library)
  • 48 pages.
  • Customers recommend this book for children ages 3 through 6.
  • Part of the Cat in the Hat's Learning Library.
Check Amazon

The best overall children’s book about butterflies is My, Oh My – A Butterfly! This is part of the Cat in the Hat learning library. It’s a hardcover picture book that’s also available in Kindle and paperback versions. It tells a rhyming story about Sally and Dick, who observe a butterfly in their own backyard. They watch the metamorphosis that goes from an egg into a caterpillar and then into a chrysalis, ending up becoming a brightly colored butterfly. They get a little help from Cat in the Hat along the way. Young readers, along with Sally and Dick, begin learning how butterflies are able to perceive thousands of images all at once and also how they drink nectar from flowers.

The book goes on to explain how butterflies avoid predators and how they can be identified by their shape, size, and color. Your young reader will also be able to follow along with the amazing migration of millions of monarchs. If you are someone who loved everything Dr. Seuss-related and would like to pass on that same love of these books to your children, you can’t go wrong with this one. The story is easy to follow, the illustrations are bright and engaging, and the rhyming verses are perfect for keeping young children entertained.

Customers love this book for toddlers. Not only is it a fun read, but it also helps them learn the lifecycle of butterflies. Some customers love anything Dr. Seuss and being able to pick up this book from the Cat in the Hat‘s learning library has been awesome for them. One customer says that their entire family is a huge fan of the Cat in the Hat learning library. They own several of these books already, including some written by the same author, Trish Rabe. She describes this book as light-hearted and also cautions that if you’re looking for a more informative book, you may need to supplement it with something a little bit denser.

Best Educational: Butterflies and Moths (Smithsonian Kids First Discovery Books)

Best Educational
Butterflies and Moths (Smithsonian Kids First Discovery Books)
  • 12 pages.
  • Recommended for children ages 2 through 6.
  • Part of the Smithsonian Kids First Discovery series of books.
Check Amazon

This next book is out of the Smithsonian kids’ first discovery books. It’s titled Butterflies and Moths. This book is written more as an educational piece that helps children learn all about butterflies. They can touch, read, and discover all the different butterflies and moths within the pages of this board book. Since it’s a board book, your kiddo will get to interact more than they would if it was just a paperback. For example, your young reader will experience the embossed textures along with super bright and detailed photographs from Smithsonian. If you have a preschooler or a kindergartner, this book is perfect. It helps in a variety of different ways, not just by teaching all about butterflies and moths, but also by helping your kiddo engage both verbally and with tactile learning skills.

Your little one has likely spotted one or two butterflies in your yard and with this book, they’ll learn about the differences between butterflies and moths, and they’ll also learn about the lifecycle of a monarch butterfly. The book is riddled with fun facts like how butterflies use their bodies to protect themselves and how they’re able to blend in with their environment. Along the way, your kids can use their fingertips to follow along with all of the textured parts throughout the book. Even the littlest butterfly enthusiast can enjoy this book, delving into a learning experience along with some play!

This book is rated 4.8 out of five stars. Customers are very happy with the quality and the content of this book. Grandparents have purchased it for their grandkids and report that they love looking at all of the butterflies. One customer called this book a keeper and called his daughter Little Miss Butterfly. She absolutely adores the book and can’t put it down. Other customers describe that it’s full of pictures, small, and fits perfectly in tiny hands. All the touchy-feely spots are super fun but some customers wish it had more because their toddlers really love engaging with the tactile aspect of this book.

Best Math-Focused: Ten Magic Butterflies (McKellar Math)

Best Math-Focused
Ten Magic Butterflies (McKellar Math)
  • 40 pages.
  • Customers recommend this book for children ages 2 through 5.
  • Part of the McKellar Math series of books.
Check Amazon

If you want to teach math in a butterfly book, this one is perfect for young, learning minds. It’s all about butterflies, fairies, and magic. The book is encased within a math-focused picture book that helps your kiddo learn a little bit of math, explore a little bit of magic, and learn a little bit about butterflies. In this book, each flower turns into a butterfly and your kids can explore different ways to group numbers to create a total of 10. This is an essential building block of math that children need to learn, and they get to learn it all while watching each flower’s dream come true.

There’s a caterpillar in this book too! Although it’s not based on the lifecycle of butterflies and instead plays on magic and fiction, it has a wonderful storyline that children can enjoy while learning some basic components of math. Consider this a way to jump-start your kid’s interest in math while enjoying a fantasy story. There is a lot of joy in learning how to count and when you pair it with beautiful art and a catchy storyline, what you get is a very well-executed counting book. The book was written by New York Times best-selling author Danica McKeller, who also wrote Goodnight, Numbers (which pairs nicely with this butterfly book)!

This book is rated 4.8 out of five stars. Customers love that it helps young children learn combinations of 10. They describe it as an excellent and fun way to kill two birds with one stone: on the one hand, you can teach the art of reading and on the other, you can teach the science of math. One customer, a retired elementary school teacher, said she noticed early that children struggle with math when not introduced to it during younger years. To keep your kiddo up to speed, you can incorporate math-focused books like this butterfly book and ensure their future success in upcoming math classes.

Best Becoming Story: Becoming a Butterfly

Best Becoming Story
Becoming a Butterfly
  • 28 pages.
  • A relatively new publication, having been published in 2021.
  • A story about wisdom, honesty, and patience.
Check Amazon

The becoming story of a butterfly is a fantastic metaphor that even young children can understand. This Becoming a Butterfly paperback book is a story about being able to overcome all of the mental and physical challenges that come with changing. Sometimes, when kids think of growing up, they either get excited or they feel really distressed. Being that growing up is inevitable, teaching them how a caterpillar overcomes the process of becoming a butterfly can help your little one learn to navigate the challenges that arise in his or her own life.

This book highlights a couple of important concepts and tools, including patience, honesty, wisdom, courage, hope, faith, and love. Your kiddo is sure to become enamored with this caterpillar and will get curious about following his journey through life. When the story ends, your kids realize that becoming a butterfly is a beautiful process, even though it might seem like a scary and daunting task at first. The book is 28 pages in length and delivers a positive message in a really engaging and creative way.

This book gets five out of five stars. Customers love that it’s adorable with a very positive message. They love taking reading time to a whole new level by not just entertaining their children, but also helping them learn some of the lessons they’ll need as they keep growing. One customer says that she also purchased a grow-your-own butterfly kit and is going to use that alongside this book as part of her home preschool curriculum. The book is packed with positive affirmations, and she feels like this is a must-have for any household and any classroom.

Best for Junior Scientists: Butterflies for Kids: A Junior Scientist’s Guide to the Butterfly Life Cycle and Beautiful Species to Discover

Best for Junior Scientists
Butterflies for Kids: A Junior Scientist’s Guide to the Butterfly Life Cycle and Beautiful Species to Discover
  • 82 pages.
  • Customers recommend this book for children ages 5 through 9.
  • Part of the Junior Scientists series of books.
Check Amazon

If you have a junior scientist on your hands, this is the perfect book to buy. It’s best for kids ages 6 through 9. You can always challenge a 5-year-old with something that’s a little more advanced, though. This book is all about how chubby caterpillars transform into those gorgeous, graceful, winged creatures we call butterflies. Kids who love butterflies probably have tons of questions about them like why some butterflies have more of a plain design while others have intricate designs on each of their wings. Butterflies for Kids is the source for all those answers.

You can read this with your kids or let them have a go at it on their own. It compiles fascinating facts about butterflies, tons of different photos, and several different illustrations. Your kiddo will learn about the butterfly lifecycle and all of those unusual behaviors that butterflies engage in. Plus, they’ll also learn about their impressive migrations. If your kid has shown interest in raising their own butterflies, you’ll also get some tips in this book for attracting them and using a kit to accomplish this in your own backyard.

Customers rate this book 4.8 out of five stars on average. Customers say that this is a fantastic book on butterflies with tons of really high-quality photos. One customer purchased this for a six-year-old girl’s birthday party and this young girl set everything aside and focused on this book. She called it her favorite present. The book teaches about all of the different species of butterflies and has corresponding photos to help children learn and differentiate between them all. Customers also commented that they can’t believe the quality of the book based on how inexpensive it is. You’re really getting great value with this purchase.

How to Choose the Right Books About Butterflies

A quick Internet search reveals the many options you have for books about butterflies written specifically for children. Some explore fantasy, others get down to the nitty-gritty details, and others incorporate extras like different textures and other interactive ways to keep young children engaged. Below are some of the factors you should consider when choosing the right book about butterflies for your kiddo.

Consider the Reading Level

This is perhaps the most important consideration when it comes to finding the right book about butterflies for your kids. The reading level is ultimately what determines whether or not your kid will be engaged with the book. Young children can’t handle too much information and will need shorter sentences, some rhymes, and lots of pictures. An older reader may be able to enjoy a short fiction novel about butterflies that stokes their imaginative fires. Fact-based books appeal to children obsessed with the subject matter. The reading level may even challenge them, which can help with reading overall.

Consider the Purpose

When purchasing a children’s book about butterflies, consider why you’re making that purchase. Are you hoping that your kids will pick up the important lesson of metamorphosis? Or are you looking for a book that teaches another skill? Sometimes, you just want to pick up a book that has big, beautiful photos of the different types of butterflies. If that’s the case, make sure that you pick one that incorporates real photos of butterflies.

Consider Any Extras

When you think about extras, think about rhyming verses within a book that help with engagement. You can also think about board books that include textured pieces to help engage your kid’s tactile learning skills. Books that offer more than just a story stimulate a child’s mind further. There are even butterfly books that incorporate math! There is certainly something for everyone. When you consider all of these factors, you’ll be better prepared to pick up the right book for your child.

The Main Different Types of Children’s Books About Butterflies

You’ve seen it through your own searches, and you’ve definitely seen it in the list above. There are tons of different types of children’s books about butterflies. Some of the ones we highlighted in this article we explain further below.

Math-Focused

A math-focused book about butterflies can help kids learn about butterflies and math all in one place. Children need some foundational concepts before they can start really understanding the complexity of some math problems. A book like Ten Magic Butterflies helps to teach kids how to group numbers to create a total of 10. This is a foundational concept that can help take kids a lot further in their math classes.

Educational

The other option you have when picking up a children’s book about butterflies is to go for an educational book. These make fact learning engaging, with photographs of butterflies kids can watch for when they’re outside. They give a real look into the lifecycle of butterflies and also cover the great migration of butterflies. While some other books may not delve deeply into facts, an educational book is focused on relaying information to readers.

Fictional

The last type of children’s book about butterflies that you can pick up is a fiction book. These books incorporate fantasy and weave a storyline that is engaging for young readers. However, it won’t be as fact-based as an educational book might be. For example, the fiction novel we highlight in this list is a story about flowers that turn into butterflies. Although there is a relationship between flowers and butterflies, this book incorporates magical themes and changes things up a bit. Fictional stories are great for getting your child’s curiosity moving.

How to Attract and Grow Your Own Butterflies

You may be thinking that a great way to supplement these books is to attract butterflies around your home. To do so, there are a couple of changes you can make, like growing native plants for butterflies. If you’re not sure what a native plant is, you can visit a native plant nursery. Staff there will likely be happy to orient you.

Another thing you can use is a nectar flower. You can get a couple of different nectar flowers and plant them around your home. These are really beautiful, but you have to be very careful when you select them. The third type of plant you can incorporate into your garden is a host plant. In order to pick the right host plant, you need to know which types of butterflies are visiting your garden. Once you do, you can purchase the host plant for them.

Another fantastic activity that you can engage in with your children is to purchase a butterfly growing kit. With a growing kit, you and your kiddo can watch as a caterpillar grows into a butterfly. You’ll experience this up close, and it’s something that your butterfly-obsessed kids will love doing with you. It’s not just a bonding experience, but also an incredibly educational process sure to tantalize your little one’s mind.

Up Next…

About the Author

Angie is a writer with over 10 years of experience developing content for product and brand reviews, focusing much of her time on animals of all types. A cat owner herself, she enjoys writing articles on beloved pets that both inform and entertain her audience.

The 5 Best Children’s Books About Butterflies – Reviewed and Ranked FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What books have butterflies in them?

There are countless books that have butterflies in them! All the books we mentioned above have butterflies, but there are certainly plenty more that you and your kids can explore.

Are butterflies patient?

Although a butterfly has never quite been interviewed to answer this question, the assumption is that yes, butterflies are instinctually patient. They enter into that period of transformation that usually takes up to 21 days. It ultimately depends on the environment where their cocoon is set up. Some butterflies may even stay in their cocoon for several years waiting for the right conditions for them to emerge. Based on that alone, you might say that butterflies are quite patient.

How do you explain butterflies to preschoolers?

Like with any new subject matter, preschoolers need not just words but also lots of pictures. Helping preschoolers understand through interactive activities is also a fantastic way to help them learn. You may even work with a grow-your-own butterfly kit to help your preschooler see the process in real-time.

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