I first had this book as a child in the seventies and was stunned by Aldridge's artwork alone. Even today, it stands head and shoulders above many pieces of artwork. Plomely's words summon up the essence of long, hot innocent summers of the past, plus been a source of imagery and inspiration in my own field of arts and crafts.
So get your gladrags on and follow the crowd - Miss Money-Spider, Harold the Herald et al. The Buttefly Ball is not to be missed :-)
I have had the original 70s book since publication and it is looking very sorry for itself so I have replaced it with this new version, which is definitely an improvement.
The original cover art is now surrounded by green butterflies, when before it was a plain brown. I find this so much more attractive. The book itself is slightly shorter and slightly wider, which again is more attractive.
This edition has more pages, due to the nature notes after the story which now have lovely black/ grey illustrations, and a different layout.
All the original fantastic Aldridge illustrations are here, absolutely beautiful. As far as I can see (and I have both copies here for comparison) the colour reproduction is almost exact, ever so slightly lighter in this version, which again I feel is an improvement.
The only thing that is not an improvement, in my opinion, is that they have got rid of the border on the text pages, which had a butterfly in each corner, and I do prefer the illustrations bordering the first letter on each page (large capital, more woodland creatures) - this version is much plainer, though still illustrated. These considerations are minor, in the context of the overall improvements.
As a work in its own right it is a splendid book for anyone who loves colourful detailed art, wildlife with both fun and education in mind , early 19th style prose poetry aimed at children. I think that children of all ages will enjoy this - I looked at a lot between 9 & 12 and I read it to my children when they were young. I do not think that any child could fail to love the detail of the illustrations. It is shamelessly anthropomorphic, and Aldridge has used the 19th century to dress the characters and provide background.
It is also reasonably realistic as far as insects, arthropods and animals with clothes on can be, so Aranea the spider has 8 eyes, though she does also have eyelashes! I do not think that any of the illustrations are creepy - they are far too colourful and fun.
I recommend also buying the cd as it is a great companion piece - I will review that also.
Our 10 year old granddaughter loves this book.She had problems with her reading skills but the gorgeous illustrations and the poetry of the language just delighted her.The language is quite old fashioned and elegant with some obscure words but this seems to be the attraction.
This is a stunning book a joy for children and adults too. I remember loving it as a child myself and decades on bought a copy and it is still the visual feast I remember.. the natural world given a magical and beautiful fairy like wonder. Absolutely exquisite pictures accompany the text. I love it as much now as I did then and am loving reading it as much as the children. This is a must have classic for every child (and adult) who has a sense of wonder for the natural world and a passion for the fantastic.
This and Peacock party were my favourite books as children. . . and they still are my favourite books many years later It is a beautifully magical book with enchanting pictures.It entices you into another world where you can stay forever. A must read books for anybody who likes this kind of thing
This book as stayed in my heart ,I am so glad to find it still in print ,my daughter took it to university ,28 years ago ,she will not give it back , my copy is staying under lock and key now , best illustrated poetry book ever , hoping to read it to my great granddaughter
A lovely beautifully drawn and printed book with easy to read poems. I took this to a favourite book dinner and was surprised by the number of people who remembered the poems and pictures from when they were young. A really lovely book.
I have been searching for years for a poster that I had as a child. I remembered it was a bugs ball and have been looking for what seems like ever. Then some one suggested this book, and the picture is in it!! I had not seen the rest of the pictures, nor do I remember the poems but I am delighted to discover them now!
I read Butterfly Ball as a teen and misplaced my book (and never saw it again ) i thought about it many times during the passing years, Then suddenly i needed to buy it (so i did ) now my grandson likes it as much as me