Do you need a reason to read Already a Butterfly: A Medication Story other than the fact it is by Julia Alvarez and Raul Colon? I mean, it almost does not get much better than this. Yet, it does get better when you read this picture book on meditation for kids and even, adults.
However, if I have one comment that leans towards a negative it is that the word “medication” is used. I completely enjoyed the journey of our heroine Mari Posa. I just wish that the word “meditation” was not in the title or throughout the book. I have a personal love/hate relationship with it: I love the idea of mediation but hate the word. When I hear it, there is an air of “loftiness” that makes the act seem “hard” and “not everyone can do it.” In contrast, I am a believer in the word “breathing” which is all mediation is. And with the help of an enlightened flower bud, Mari learns to use to help her find herself.
Yet, the book is about meditation. It is about how one butterfly finds herself. This word and theme are the nectar of the story. We see Mari fluttering around. We see the life of a butterfly. But it is one that does not necessarily make Mari happy or fulfilled. With the help of a bud on a plant, Mari learns how to stop, breath, focus and just enjoy. The text is long, therefore, not for the child who needs to sit for long periods of time (somewhat ironic considering the theme). But when you learn the why of a longer story, it does make sense. The afterwards has a two page “spread” about the inspiration for the book and how Alverez uses mediation to help others.
And even if the story was not good, Colon’s illustrations are a must!!!!!! (not enough exclamation points to get this point across). They are bold, bright, busy, detailed, cool feeling, relaxing and stimulating. I mean, just GORGEOUS AF. Read them by themselves or frame them. Judge a book by its cover? Yes, this time, you will get all you need t know about the art and story.