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The Picture Book Buzz

An Extraordinary Ordinary Moth - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

It's so fun going into butterfly houses and having all the bright, vivid colors flutter around you. Maybe, if you're lucky, even land on your arm or hand.

But what about those drab grey moths that congregate around your outside light or camping lantern? Last summer we had one of those crazy moths that wanted to become one with our lantern. When we stopped shooing it away and looked at it closely, there was a delicate beauty to it. We managed to save it, at least for one day at our campsite.

I was excited to see the cover of the book when it was announced. Curious about what made a moth extraordinary. I hope you will also enjoy this book.

An Extraordinary Ordinary Moth

Author: Karlin Gray

Illustrator: Steliyana Doneva

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press (2018)

Ages: 5-8



Nature, moths, science, and self-worth


Feeling quite ordinary, a plain gray moth sadly compares itself to its more exotic kin, such as the Luna Moth, the Spider Moth, and the Hummingbird Moth. And the little moth feels even worse when a young girl sees it and says "Eww!" But things change when her brother explains that this particular type of moth is his favorite kind of insect. Maybe an ordinary moth is really extraordinary after all. Back matter includes fascinating moth facts, along with a special activity.

Opening Lines:

I'm an ordinary moth,

as you can plainly see.

A dusty, greyish, dull insect -

nothing-special me.

What I like about this book:

First off, Steliyana Doneva's stunning and vibrant illustrations, showcase some amazing moths and a delightful naturescape. They are sure to entice even the most hesitant reader into examining these and other insects.

Image © Steliyana Doneva, 2018, text © copyright Karlin Gray, 2018.

Karlin Gray's rhyming text tells the story from the moth's point of view. It follows the moth as it compares itself to other fantastically sized or colored moths, discovers that a boy and his sister consider it their favorite, and learns that even ordinary grey creatures can be extraordinary.

Image © Steliyana Doneva, 2018 text © copyright Karlin Gray, 2018.

The underlying message - to think about the value of all of nature, people included - in conjunction with the scientific facts woven throughout the story and explored in the back matter, make this an excellent STEM and interpersonal relations book for early elementary kids. A science book that encourages the reader to look for what makes everything special, including themselves.


- moth watching activity & ten extraordinary facts about moths - at the end of the book;

- what moths and butterflies live near you?

- which ones migrate through your area? Check out the map of the Black Witch moth migration

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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