Saturday 8 May 2021

Coco and the Butterfly

Coco and the Butterfly by Laura Bunting, illustrated by Nicky Johnston (Omnibus Books) HB RRP $19.99 ISBN 9781743834923

Reviewed by Nikki M Heath

Coco the cat cannot think of anything worse than moving to the country. Except, perhaps, the creepy-crawlies that seem to be everywhere, now that she’s been forced to leave her big city home. Everything is awful, Coco is miserable, and she just wants to escape - which she does, out into the garden. There, she meets a caterpillar who is struggling with its own change-related crisis, as it contemplates its upcoming transformation into a butterfly.

 In trying to support the caterpillar to face its fears of change head-on, Coco overcomes her own misgivings about her new country home. In the end, both the now-butterfly and Coco discover the joy they can find in their new situations. The theme of embracing change is clear but not didactic, and the charming characters draw readers into the delightful story.

This is a follow-up to Coco: Big City Kitty, and the series is a significant departure for Laura Bunting, so fans of her previous work in Koalas Eat Gum Leaves and Kookaburras Love to Laugh should be aware that this prose narrative is in a separate category. That said, Bunting appears entirely at home with this different style, supported by the gorgeous pastel-toned illustrations by Nicky Johnston. The two combines to create a story with a distinctly feminine feel but a universal message of openness and courage.

A must-have for lovers of Ruby Red Shoes, this story is gentle yet spirited, uplifting and full of heart. This book is perfect for children aged 4 and up who are struggling with change in their lives, or who simply love cats, butterflies and pretty things.

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