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On the Wings of a Butterfly: A Story About Life and Death [Hardcover]

Marilyn J. Maple , Sandy Haight
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
List Price: CDN$ 20.34
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Book Description

March 1992
Beautiful watercolor illustrations accompany this poignant story about the friendship between a young girl dying of cancer and a caterpillar preparing to become a monarch butterfly. Butterfly opens the door for talking about death, dying, and the wonder of life.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Lisa, who is dying of cancer, meets a talking caterpillar, which she names Sonya. The two confide in each other: the girl has had a friend die of cancer, and she is afraid; and Sonya is apprehensive about the changes she will soon undergo. When Lisa enters the hospital, her father brings her a milkweed plant--with Sonya on a leaf. As Lisa watches, Sonya becomes a chrysalis and is "all wrapped up in her turquoise and silver world of would-be dreams." Such flowery language aside, this affecting story will comfort youngsters who are terminally ill or who know someone who is. Some children will be perplexed by the ending: when Lisa dies, she rises above her bed and flies away on the wings of Sonya, now a butterfly. The questions this may bring on, as well as the book's unusually small print, make this a better choice for a read-aloud than a read-alone. Haight's naturalistic pictures, though not particularly memorable, add color--and emotion--to this sad but ultimately uplifting tale. Ages 6-11.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-3-- Lisa, who has cancer, is about to return to the hospital for more treatment when she finds a caterpillar who talks to her, and whom she names Sonya. Lisa's father pots the plant to which Sonya clings so that the child can have it by her bedside. As her condition deteriorates, she and the insect discuss the changes Sonya will undergo as she transforms herself into a Monarch butterfly; as Sonya emerges from her cocoon, Lisa dies. In an out-of-body state, she then leaves her grieving parents and friends and soars to join the swarm of migrating butterflies. The basic premise of a child identifying with the butterfly, long a symbol of hope and resurrection, is not original, but a sense of tenderness suffuses the text, making it a gently effective instrument of bibliotherapy. The bright warmth of the large, realistic watercolors helps to show that Lisa's life has many happy moments despite her illness. The very small print really doesn't matter, as the book would undoubtedly be used interactively with adults. --Patricia Pearl Dole, formerly at First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, VA
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Hardcover
This book is wonderful! The descriptions of how the caterpillar changes into a butterfly are great and they relate so well to how a child would perceive themselves to change when they die. Explaining death to a child is extremely difficult, but this book does it beautifully and gives a child hope that they will be able to return in some way and let their loved ones know that they are happy. The illustrations are beautiful. This is a must have for social workers in the field of pediatric oncology. I recommend it enthusiastically. Many books on death are either too esoteric or too babyish. Children with cancer have experienced a great deal in their short lives and therefore have a greater understanding than most on death and the afterlife. This book acknowledges that understanding, embraces it, and then rejoices with the child in the new life that they are going to have. I have seen this book read at wakes, funerals and at the time of death to children, and it is very helpful to the child as well as to the family that is left behind. A wonderful book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book for children who are terminally ill with ca April 25 2000
By Denneyse Carswell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is wonderful! The descriptions of how the caterpillar changes into a butterfly are great and they relate so well to how a child would perceive themselves to change when they die. Explaining death to a child is extremely difficult, but this book does it beautifully and gives a child hope that they will be able to return in some way and let their loved ones know that they are happy. The illustrations are beautiful. This is a must have for social workers in the field of pediatric oncology. I recommend it enthusiastically. Many books on death are either too esoteric or too babyish. Children with cancer have experienced a great deal in their short lives and therefore have a greater understanding than most on death and the afterlife. This book acknowledges that understanding, embraces it, and then rejoices with the child in the new life that they are going to have. I have seen this book read at wakes, funerals and at the time of death to children, and it is very helpful to the child as well as to the family that is left behind. A wonderful book.
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