Taming Butterflies, by Sue Whiting and Mini Goss

Reviewed by Kathryn Duncan


Sometimes a solution is much easier than we expect. Tilly has thousands of butterflies living inside her stomach. They are not always there, but when they wake up they make Tilly shiver and shake. One day, Marjory-Anne comes to visit and helps Tilly tame the butterflies. The answer to Tilly’s shyness and nerves is simple: tell the butterflies to be still.

Sue Whiting’s story is almost rhythmical at times and the language is simple, yet accurately describes how butterflies behave.

The bright illustrations by Mini Goss are beautiful with much more to offer than just telling the story. They show the underlying emotions. Younger children may not understand what being shy means but they will recognise the emotions of sadness, happiness and fear on Tilly’s face.

This is a fabulous story offering a simple method of dealing with nerves and shyness. It lets the child take control. Whilst the solution may not work for everyone, it is straightforward and fun to try out. It is a great book to read aloud and lets the listener join in with taming the butterflies. This is a story that children will want to read, or listen to, over and over again.

Taming Butterflies, Goss, Mini (illus.), Sue Whiting (text)
New Frontier Publishing, 2004
Hardcover, RRP$24.95, ISBN 0975090755