Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

A Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book  

A Parents' Choice  Recommended Title  

A Scholastic Parent & Child Best Book of 2007

"Lyrical, imagistic prose tells the story of a young Chinese princess who prepares to leave the bustling riches of her father's palace and marry 'the king of far Khotan.' .... The delicate descriptive text is so effective at creating the world of the princess that the silk-smuggling becomes secondary to the reason for it; this isn't the account of the spread of a manufacturing technique but a story of a girl preparing to leave her home for the unknown... Give this to fans of Bodkin's elegant The Crane Wife or Ho's poetry collection Maples in the Mist, who will admire the controlled intensity of Noyes' style." -- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred and recommended)

"According to Chinese legend, silk has been around for more than 5,000 years. With sales from East to West so lucrative for so long, production of the luxury cloth was a closely guarded secret, but, inevitably, word got out. How that happened is the fascinating subject of the lovely and lyrical Red Butterfly." -- San Francisco Chronicle

"[A] beautiful picture book.... In language recalling the poet Li Po, best known to readers of English through Ezra Pound's rendering of 'The River Merchant's Wife: A Letter,' Noyes tries to imagine what might have driven a heartsick young princess to give up China's precious secret.... Sophie Blackall did the pictures, light and bright as butterflies, in Chinese ink and watercolors." -- The Washington Post

"Noyes writes with exquisite delicacy... [and] understands Red Butterfly's theft as a small but powerful rebellion against loss.... Blackall gives readers visual clues (the princess's smile, flying silk moths) to suggest that the girl's resilience creates a hopeful future." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Written in the style of ancient Chinese poets, the text dwells lovingly on the pleasures of imperial life while splendid ink-and-watercolor illustrations poignantly capture the princess's leave-taking as well as details of palace life in images evocative of Chinese screen paintings." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"This poetic tale of a Chinese princess sent from her father's kingdom to marry a king reinterprets the legend of how the secret of silk was revealed to the world. A beautifully illustrated, bittersweet story."-- Scholastic Parent & Child

"[An] elegant tale.... Noyes' graceful text includes allusions to nature and the shifting seasons in a style reminiscent of traditional Chinese poetry.... the princess' sorrow over leaving the people and things that tie her to her home will speak straight to kids--as will the beautiful, ink-and-watercolor illustrations in rich, jewel colors." -- Booklist

"Delicately depicted in mint, peach, and red, this beautifully worded legend shares the solitary heartbreak and secret unraveling of a young girl who shines light into her own uncertain future."-- (podcast available HERE)

"This poetic picture book ... uses language that flows with emotion and period detail, and is accented by illustrations that fairly glow.... A graceful and unusual read." -- Esme Raji Codell, PlanetEsme

"Blackall dives right into the world of ancient China with her eloquent illustrations rendered in Chinese ink and watercolor.... and Noyes' text is lyric, poetic.... [an] outstanding [picture book]. -- Julie Danielson, 


RED BUTTERFLY. Text copyright (c) 2007 Deborah Noyes. Illustrations copyright (c) 2007 Sophie Blackall. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc. All rights reserved.