Butterflies Are Pretty … Gross! by Rosemary Mosco, illus. by Jacob Souva

Review by Jocelyne Gregory

Tundra Books (Penguin Random House), April 2021

36 pages, hardcover, $18.99 CDN, ISBN 9780735265929

Ages 4-8, Preschool to Grade 2

Picture Book, Non-fiction

There is a conspiracy in the insect world and it involves butterflies. Are they truly beautiful? Or are people fooled by their delicate-looking nature and colourful wings? Butterflies Are Pretty … Gross! written by Rosemary Mosco and illustrated by Jacob Souva, is here to give us the truth about these insects, from their caterpillar stage to the moment they emerge in all their colours from their chrysalises.

As the reader is drawn deeper into the secret world of butterflies, our guide (a sneaker-wearing monarch butterfly) doles out plenty of warnings about the strange, but true, life of the butterfly. They don’t just eat flower pollen, but rotting fruit, poop, dead things—and when they’re still caterpillars, they even eat other bugs. Some species trick ants into raising them and others look like bird poop to protect themselves from being preyed upon by birds. Butterflies are a lot more complicated then most people realize.

The illustrations are lovely and complement the text with warm earthy tones. Drawings of various species of caterpillars and butterflies and their questionable diets, engaging visuals of butterflies hunting prey with small spears, and escaping predators (both birds and spiders alike), ensure that each page keeps readers entertained.

Butterflies Are Pretty … Gross! would suit a school or public library collection, your favourite reader who like bugs, and anyone who wants to learn more about the intriguing lives of butterflies.


Jocelyne Gregory is a UBC MFA creative writing graduate and a graduate of SFU’s the Writer’s Studio. She’s an author and editor and has provided manuscript consultations with the Sechelt Public Library and the Writer’s Studio. A lifelong gamer and fan of comics, she lives on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, Canada.


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