Inside: Find children’s books about butterflies and caterpillars for kids from preschool and kindergarten through early elementary.
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Learning about caterpillars and their transformation into beautiful butterflies is a wonderful way for children to learn about nature, life cycles, and change. There are so many lovely books about butterflies and caterpillars available for you to share!
Picture Books about Butterflies and Caterpillars
Let’s start with fiction. Some of these are about caterpillars, some about butterflies, and of course, some involve caterpillars turning into butterflies. They’re all about characters children will be eager to hear about.
Good Night Sleepy Caterpillar by Patricia Hegarty (illustrated by Thomas Elliott). This gorgeous book for younger children follows one sleepy little caterpillar as she wishes her friends a good night. The rhyme and colorful illustrations make this a favorite among kids and parents.
Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson (illustrated by Axel Scheffler). Little fans of The Gruffalo will love this book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, in which a butterfly helps a baby monkey to find his parents – with very happy results.
Farfallina & Marcel by Holly Keller. The story of the unlikely friendship between Farfallina the caterpillar and Marcel the gosling, and what happens when they don’t look the same on the outside. Completely adorable!
The Caterpillar and the Polliwog by Jack Kent. Just like Farfallina & Marcel, this is a colorful tale about friendship and self-acceptance which is adored by littles. This one is ideal for children from about age 4 and up.
Elmer and Butterfly by David McKee. We are big fans of Elmer the Elephant in my house and this particular installment considers how a butterfly can help an elephant. We just love the way that Elmer sees the good in everyone. Plus, the illustrations are so colorful and cute.
Gotta Go! Gotta Go! By Sam Swope (illustrated by Sue Riddle). Kids just love this picture book which teaches them all about the migration of monarch butterflies through a very sweet story. Be warned: You will all be chanting the rhymes long after finishing the book.
Caterpillar Dreams by Clive McFarland. A magical book for little ones all about Henri the butterfly who dreams of adventure far beyond his home. Where will he end up? You’ll have to read the book to find out!
The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach. Your preschoolers will find this colorful book absolutely hilarious and they will learn something about patience at the same time. Be prepared to read it again and again!
The Little Butterfly That Could by Ross Burach. This sequel to The Very Impatient Caterpillar (listed above) is another funny and engaging story. Use it after you talk about butterfly migration, growth mindset, or just when you need a fun butterfly storybook. This title will be released on March 2, 2021 (I was able to preview an advanced copy for you).
Out of Nowhere by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros is another about-to-be-released title that I’m super excited to read. I didn’t get to preview the entire book, but I LOVE the Look Inside preview on Amazon. The sweet story of friendship and the unconventional (for a butterfly book) illustrations seem to make a winning combination.
Sensory Books – Touch, Lift, & Slide
Pull little ones into story time with these sensory books that are made for interaction.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. You couldn’t have a list of books about caterpillars without including this classic from Eric Carle, which is just as popular today as it was when it was first published almost thirty years ago. Kids can watch as the caterpillar eats its way through the pages and can get more comfortable with counting and learning the days of the week.
Flutterby Butterfly: A Slide-and-Seek Book by Emma Parrish. This lovely board book is perfect for your littlest littles who will love moving the sliders to try to find Flutterby Butterfly. Who doesn’t love an interactive story?
Butterfly’s Surprise: A Lift-the-Flap Book by Grace Maccarone (illustrated by Valentina Belloni). A cute little book where your preschoolers can lift the flap to find the Butterfly’s surprise. The illustrations are full of color and life!
Non-Fiction and Concept Books
These titles teach young learners about butterflies and use butterflies to teach basic concepts.
Butterfly Themed Concept Books
First up are a few books that aren’t always about butterflies. Instead, they use butterflies to teach another simple concept.
Butterfly Colors and Counting by Jerry Pallotta (illustrated by Shennen Barsani). Get your littles confident with counting and colors with this super cute board book. Perfect for the youngest of readers!
Ten Magic Butterflies by Danica McKellar (illustrated by Jennifer Bricking). Who says kids have to wait for school to get excited about Math? This fun and engaging picture book will spark the interest of your preschoolers in counting and Math. There’s also a great story!
Ten Little Caterpillars by Bill Martin Jr. (illustrated by Lois Ehlert). Fans of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom will love this counting concept book which can lead into lots of other activities.
Books That Teach About Caterpillars & Butterflies
I’ve tried to put these more or less in order for you from the simplest primers to more advanced informational texts for elementary students.
Caterpillar and Bean by Martin Jenkins (illustrated by Hannah Tolson). The perfect book for budding scientists to learn about life cycles. This book can be enjoyed by little ones as young as 2.
Explore my World Butterflies by Marfe Ferguson Delano. This book from National Geographic features lots of stunning photographs and is a great way to start reading aloud with your kids.
The Backyard Bug Book for Kids: Storybook, Insect Facts, and Activities by Lauren Davidson. This book is not only packed with facts about bugs and a compelling story about a caterpillar, it also features activities for your littles to enjoy. Perfect for rainy Spring days!
Butterflies are Pretty . . . Gross by Rosemary Mosco (illustrated by Jacob Souva). This is the perfect book for your kiddos who revel more in slimy and stinky than delicate and beautiful. Plus, it’s full of interesting facts. I was only able to preview the first several pages, but I loved what I saw. This title will be released on April 6, 2021.
My, Oh My, A Butterfly!: All About Butterflies by Tish Rabe (illustrated by Aristides Ruiz & Joe Mathieu). Who doesn’t love the Cat in the Hat? In this book, he takes the children on a rhyming journey all about butterflies. Absolutely jam-packed with information, this book is ideal for older preschoolers.
The Butterfly Alphabet Book by Jerry Pallotta and Brian Cassie (illustrated by Mark Astrella). If you love a good alphabet book you’ll want to grab this one for your butterfly unit. There’s a butterfly with accompanying facts for each letter of the alphabet.
When Butterflies Cross the Sky: The Monarch Butterfly Migration by Sharon Katz Cooper (illustrated by Joshua S. Brunet). This engaging narrative nonfiction book for primary grades follows one butterfly as she migrates from North America to Mexico. The story also includes facts about the life cycle of a butterfly.
Finally, here is my own little set of printable butterfly books. These nonfiction emergent readers come in three different levels, all suitable for kindergarten and first grade.
I hope you will find some books about butterflies and caterpillars to enjoy with your kids from this list. If you would like to suggest more books to add to the list, please contact me!
If you’ve got ‘the bug’ for caterpillars, why not check out one of these posts too:
- Very Hungry Caterpillar Suncatcher Craft
- Tape Resist Caterpillar Craft
- Free Raising Butterflies Journal
- Butterfly Dot Dabber Activity