Book Review: One million butterflies (about falling in love)

review When elephant Stach sees a cloud of butterflies around him, his parents tell him it is time for him to go into the wide world. One million butterflies is a story about growing up, letting go, falling in love and coming home again. A picture book for children from the age of six. The text is written by Edward van de Vendel, the beautiful illustrations are made by Carll Cneut.

Data from the book One million butterflies

  • Text: Edward van de Vendel
  • Illustrations: Carll Cneut
  • Publisher: De Eenhoorn
  • Published: 2007
  • Genre: children's book / picture book
  • Number of pages: 32
  • ISBN: 978 90 5838 434 8
  • Suitable for: children from around six years old

About the writer, Edward van de Vendel

Edward van de Vendel was born in 1964 in Leerdam. As a little boy he didn't read much, but when he got older he started reading a lot. Books by Guus Kuijer, youth novels by Imme Dros and he was also a fan of the books by Paul Biegel, Wim Hofman and Els Pelgrom. He calls Astrid Lindgren the children's book champion. Edward wanted to be a footballer but couldn't play well. Singer was another option, but he couldn't sing nicely. Becoming a master also seemed like something to him and that was a bit in line with expectations, his mother was a kindergarten teacher and later a remedial teacher, his father was a school director. Edward became a master and he liked this profession very well. He stopped teaching in 2001 and is now a full-time writer. He writes texts for picture books, poems for young children, for older children. Furthermore songs and poems for adults and books for all ages (from the age of six). The writer writes by hand, in a notebook, then he puts it in the computer. The publishers he works for are Querido and De Eenhoorn. Edward's books have been translated into other languages, in German, French, Italian (One million butterflies), Norwegian, Danish, Portuguese, Chinese and Georgian.

About the illustrator, Carll Cneut

Carll was born in 1969. He studied graphic design at the Sint Lucas Institute in Ghent. He has worked as an illustrator on various children's magazines and since 1996 he has illustrated ten children's books. Carll Cneut tries to bring something to the readers with his illustrations. The drawings are not completely finished and in this way he tries to excite the children. The first picture book for which he supplied both text and drawings was The incredible love story of Lord Morf. Carll finds it surprising that by applying color to a white sheet he can create a feeling. He uses acrylic paint because that is technically the best for him. Due to the stiffness and dryness of acrylic, it can use colors in multiple layers. He often adds something like pastel, pencil, ink or wasco.

The story One million butterflies

When the young elephant Stach sees a cloud of butterflies around him, his parents tell him it is time for him to go into the wide world. He gets a field bag with food and drink and has to go. Stach does not know where to go, but his parents say he will understand. When he asks when he will come back, his parents give the same answer.
The butterflies show Stach the way. Wild cats ask him to play with them, but Stach wants to continue. Every time Stach encounters other animals, the butterflies disappear briefly, but when the other animals are gone, they come back again. The Old Elk says that he saw the butterflies a long time ago and that Stach must enjoy and remember everything. All the animals he encounters afterwards know about the butterflies.
Just as Stach thinks he may always have to keep following the butterflies, he sees a girl. She is sitting on a bridge on a fence and butterflies are also flying above her head. Now Stach understands why he has made this entire journey and runs to the bridge. He is not sure how to proceed. But when he talks about the butterflies, the girl laughs and lays her leg on Stach's belly. He is shocked and thinks that the butterflies have settled in his stomach. But that tickling in his stomach comes from something completely different. The girl lays her leg back on his stomach and Stach lays his leg on the girl's stomach. Everything is exactly as it should be. And the butterflies? They fly away, looking for new boys and new girls, looking for everyone for whom it is almost time to see butterflies.

The text and illustrations

On the front cover an elephant, sitting on the ground, three butterflies are flying around his head. Under his pants you can just see a piece of paper with a heart drawn on it. The title One million butterflies immediately remind adults of being in love and butterflies in the belly. A child will probably not think about this, but the piece of paper with the heart can put them on track. On the back a lot of butterflies in beautiful colors, in small letters is briefly described what the story is about. The bracts are in bright pink. The illustrations cover a page but also a double page. They are expressive drawings, bright colors. With almost every illustration you will find text, on a page the drawing and on the page next to it the text, but sometimes the text also appears with an illustration. Short and long sentences alternate. Nice to read the names of the butterflies such as waddle butterflies, butterflies with commas, bangers, smile butterflies and even a Big Bare from Moesmenistan. There will be words that you have to explain to a child of six, but the story is easy to follow. Red letters have been chosen in this book, which looks great on the cream-colored background and with the colorful drawings.

An excerpt from the book

There they stood, Stach and the girl. How should it go on? Stach didn't know. That's why he said something stupid. He said: "Look! A million!' The girl laughed, and the butterflies above her head flew through the air to the rhythm of her smile. Stach pointed to it and said: "No! Two million!' The girl laughed even harder. And she just came closer. And just put her leg on Stach's belly.

My opinion about One million butterflies

What a beautiful book about falling in love. Butterflies bring elephant Stach to the girl that suits him. Only lovers see the butterflies, when Stach meets other animals along the way, the butterflies are gone, he continues his way, then they reappear. Old animals like to talk about the butterflies, it reminds them of the beautiful time of falling in love that they once experienced. A nice picture book, I read it with pleasure.

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