OPINION | READ TO ME: Caterpillars have fun with metamorphosis in this fast-paced kids book

"Moth & Butterfly: Ta-Da!" by Dev Petty, writer, Ana Aranda, illustrator (Nancy Paulsen Books, June 8), 3-7 years, 32 pages, $17.99. (Nancy Paulsen Books)

“Moth & Butterfly: Ta-Da!” by Dev Petty, writer, Ana Aranda, illustrator (Nancy Paulsen Books, June 8), 3-7 years, 32 pages, $17.99.

STORY: Metamorphosis is an exciting event in the fast-paced lives of two caterpillars in this joyful, mildly informative picture book.

Happy all the time, the caterpillar buddies rejoice in their shared interests: spots, having many legs. Also, both enjoy munching holes in leaves.

Then they grow sleepy. One caterpillar cuddles onto a leaf while the other hooks its ... uh ... tail around a stem and hangs upside down. A butterfly dances past, wishing them a happy metamorphosis.

We turn the page to find a scrap of what might be a shape that adults could interpret as calico fabric has appeared on the leaf over one caterpillar, and a differently patterned calico blob hangs in place of the other.

Time passes.

Pop! A butterfly appears. Pop! There is a moth.

We see no transmogrifying agonies, no unfurling of shriveled wings. But the book shares useful information as, in simple words, it points out the insects' differences. Then away they fly, delighted to be them.

We learn:

◼️ Eating leaves is fun.

◼️ Metamorphosis is amazing.

◼️ Caterpillars turn into butterflies or into moths ... hmm ... adults might need to head off confusion by pointing out the different headgear and colors of the two caterpillars before their transformation.

◼️ Butterflies and moths are different.

Metamorphosis is a science topic, and we find it helpful to use as a poetic metaphor, too. This book will plant that metaphor in young minds, while allowing them to relish saying aloud a five-syllable word.

Read to Me is a weekly review of short books.