BOOK REVIEWS

Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-08-30 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 26 user ratings
ISBN:0307978044
LANGUAGE:English

"Reviewed at: http://www.teachmentortexts.com/2011/...

Summary: Everyone remembers Velma's older two sisters, so Velma is trying to find a way to stand out herself now that she is in 1st grade.

What I Think: Velma is such a fun girl! I truly enjoyed her as a character. As a reader, I found her journey endearing and believable. Now, I liked this book even more as a teacher! First, it deals with choices and how standing out in a negative way is not a positive thing. Also, it is educational while still being entertaining. The vocabulary and scientific information in the book are intertwined perfectly with the story so that students will remember the new information while not realizing they are being taught. I'll be honest: I do not like butterflies. I have a thing against sporadic insects (butterflies, dragonflies, etc.), but this book made me think about them in a different, beautiful way.
" said.

"Velma Gratch is the youngest of the three Gratch sisters and is entering the first grade. But it's not very much fun since all her teachers know about her are the good things her older sisters did. Velma tries everything to get special attnention just for her, but nothing seems to work. Then her science class starts to learn about butterfiles and Velma is fascinated. She learns everything she can about them and then she gets the fabulous news that her class is going to the butterfly conservatory for their field trip! Velma is excited and it gets even better when they arrive, because it turns out that she does get the attention she's been seeking--and in a very cool way.

I really liked this book. It was a great mix of a fun story as well as a good teaching tool since it talks quite a bit about butterflies. Velma's frustrations about her older sisters can be felt by any younger child (just ask my little sisters!), and the book gives a good lesson about finding something that you are good at.
" said.

"Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly is a story about a first grade girl named Velma, she's the youngest of three sisters. Her two sisters Frieda and Fiona were good at sports, reading, singing and practically everything! All of the sisters past teachers remembered them for how great they were. [show pictures pointing out their achievements] Can any of you remember a time when you felt like you wanted to empress someone?

Velma, the youngest sister, gets herself in trouble and called into the principal's office for misbehaving. [page 49 show picture] "'Mr. Pexipuss lamented that she was the first Gratch sister ever sent to the Principal's office.' This brought a small smile to Velma's lips." Why do you suppose that made Velma smile?

MOVES
• Lay the groundwork for helping children understand the theme - gave the children a background of Velma's life.
• Raise questions in the readers minds - encouraged the class to see things in a different perspective by considering how they may have attempted to impressed someone.
• Prompt hypothesizing based on the situation - gave them an opportunity to predict, by asking about Velma's little smile. could Velma's smile imply to get them thinking in the perspective of Velma.
" said.

"Remember first grade? Does your teacher remember you? Everyone remembers Frieda and Fiona, the older Gratch sisters, but no one notices Velma. They can't even remember her name! Velma is very sad and doesn't think she belongs in first grade. She isn't a good singer (like Frieda) or good at sports (like Fiona). She likes science, and she LOVES butterflies. When Mr. Plexipuss takes the class to the Butterfly Conservatory, Velma is all aflutter. When a monarch butterfly befriends Velma, what happens next is just ... way cool.

his is a fun story, and I love that it has several layers. Although the story focuses largely on Velma, the author has thoughtfully weaved in other themes: the individuality and the supportive dynamic of the Gratch sisters; facts about butterflies; and a positive "model" about girls liking science (and "bugs"). The only piece that didn't set well was the visit to the principal's office. I understood the first one, as it helped set up the story. But going to the principal's office because of a butterfly on her finger is a little "out there."

To read our full review, go to The Reading Tub®.
" said.

"Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly by Alan Madison and illustrated by Kevin Hawkes, tells the story of young Velma Gartch and how her curiosity of science and butterflies takes her on a way cool adventure. Velma is the youngest of the three Gratch sisters, and like her older sisters, she wants to be remembered. In her science class, Velma discovers her love for science and butterflies. She learns all she can and on a field trip to the conservatory to see butterflies, a monarch attaches to her finger and won’t let go. When the monarch becomes a distraction to Velma’s classmates she remembers that monarchs migrate to the south. Her knowledge of butterflies allows her to set her monarch free just in time. I really enjoyed this book because it shows the reader a positive attitude about science. It engages students in how science can be “way cool” and gives them some introductory information on butterflies. I feel that this book could be used in my classroom library as an introductory activity to a science unit or just another great resource to have. I feel that it’s important to get kids interested in science, especially girls. Having a female main character in this story can make a positive impact on my female students. " said.

"This picturebook, appropriate for Nursery-Primary readers, tells the tale of a girl who, despite feeling overshadowed by her memorable and accomplished older sisters, finds a way of standing out due to her growing fascination for science, and specifically for butterflies. How satisfying it is to read a story with a female protagonist who is interested in science! Velma Gratch is charmingly eccentric, and the illustrations of her are adorable. My three-year-old daughter giggled over every page because of Velma's silly red hair, which looks strikingly similar to two chrysalis ponytails. The theme of being oneself when tempted to simply fit in by being like others combines with a touch of science education -- a great combination. The reader not only learns along with Velma about metamorphosis, but will also get a laugh from the artwork and the language. Velma's accidental mispronunciations of big words and the author's use of sprightly exciting verbs makes for a fun read-aloud. The book is wordy; there's a fair amount of text, which might be daunting to some early readers, but the illustrations tell the story so clearly in themselves, and so colorfully too, that even my daughter was able to stay put and totally invested for the duration of the book. I can't stress enough, especially as a mother of a little girl who's really into pink and princesses, how much I appreciate the importance of girl protagonists who are smart and funny and confident and fascinated by how the world works. " said.

"Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly.

Monarch Award Nominee for 2010
K-4th grade

Hawkes's illustrations of caterpillars on the inside cover and butterflies on the back cover represent the main character's metamorphosis. Velma is struggling to find her own unique talents and abilities as the unnoticed, youngest of three Gratch sisters. At the beginning of the story Velma is like a caterpillar and she eventually undergoes a metamorphosis into a butterfly. The illustrations vary in size from large pictures covering two full pages, to several small illustrations on a page. The illustrations have the exaggerated and expressive quality of cartoons and capture how the world is seen through the exaggerated lens of Velma’s emotions. Velma’s hair is reddish orange and worn in two large pigtails symbolizing the orange and black monarch butterfly which winds up resting on Velma’s finger long after a school trip to the conservatory. The illustrations are colorful and playful throughout, especially an illustration capturing Velma’s wonder and excitement as she holds up the monarch. Her pigtails cover the width of two pages, mimicking the butterfly's wings. The text varies from short paragraphs covering two pages to short sentences on a single page, which paces the reader to quicken or pause at various points of the story.
This book is perfect for a read aloud to children aged 4-10 years of age.

Language arts/science

This is a great book for a read aloud to the class and can be used to introduce the topics of one’s unique skills, talents and attributes. For Language Arts, students can write a paper about what they feel their unique talents are or write about something they feel they really enjoy studying. For science this book can be used to introduce metamorphosis, migration and the study of the various butterflies and their unique colors and characteristics. It would also be great to include a trip to a butterfly conservatory if location permits.
" said.

" This is such a cute book about a young girl who is trying to stand out of her sister's shadows. It is also a great book to add into a science unit on butterflies! Science Fiction. 2007. " said.

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