Isabel’s House of Butterflies

Isabel's House of Butterflies, Tony Johnston, Susan Guevara, Monarch butterfly migration, Mexico Monarchs, eco-tourism

Isabel’s House of Butterflies by Tony Johnston, Sierra Club Books, 2003

Sigurd Olson Children’s Book Award, 2004

Every year in autumn, monarch butterflies migrate to the mountainous area of Mexico where Isabel and her family live, returning to roost in the single tree outside their house. After a poor harvest, though, Isabel’s father sadly decides that he must chop down the tree and sell its wood to buy food. Remembering her beloved butterflies, Isabel comes up with a plan that gives her family hope that they can spare the tree and still survive. Children will take satisfaction in Isabel’s practical ingenuity. The problem posed in this well-crafted story seems larger than a child could handle, yet her imagination allows her to find a solution that had eluded her parents. Set within borders that resemble picture frames, Guevara’s richly textured paintings create sympathetic characters and settings that broaden the story beyond its words. The compositions are varied and graceful, and the pictures create an appealingly tactile sense with their thickly applied paints in rich colors. –Booklist

The captivating full-page color artwork by Susan Guevara fairly leaps from the pages of Tony Johnston’s Isabel’s House Of Butterflies, a stunning picture book about a Mexican family with a young daughter, and the tree on their land that is a wintering place for thousands of monarch butterflies that migrate from the north. When they come, the tree becomes La casa de las mariposas – the house of the butterflies. But the family is very poor, and may need to cut down the tree to sell its wood to survive. A poignant story of difficult real-life choices and wonder for natural miracles, Isabel’s House Of Butterflies would make a welcome addition to any school or community library collection.–Midwest Book Review