Adios Oscar! A Butterfly Fable

Author(s): Peter ElwellIMG_4382

Illustrator/Photographer: Peter Elwell

Publisher and Year: The Blue Sky Press in 2009

Number of Pages: 28

Genre: Fiction


This is a story about a caterpillar named Oscar who meets a butterfly named Bob who tells him he is going to Mexico and that he should visit him when he grows his wings. Oscar becomes really excited about becoming a butterfly, and so he learns Spanish to use while in Mexico, even though the other caterpillars think he is crazy and won’t grow wings. Instead of becoming a butterfly he turns into a moth and at first this discourages him from going to Mexico like the butterflies do, but in the end he realizes that he does not have to limit himself to only doing things that moths usually do. So he ends up flying to Mexico and meeting up with Bob and the other butterflies.

The book is illustrated using very bright colors which symbolizes Oscar’s initial excitement about becoming a butterfly and eventually his freedom from the stereotypical moth activities. I noticed that most of the images were small or framed but a few of the pages were unframed and took up the whole two-page spread. These large images were usually representing a point in the story where Oscar feels excited or happy and it helped the reader relate to Oscar’s joyous emotions. Most of the characters in this story are male and the characters who are portrayed as successful are all male as well, which can make the reader feel that men are more powerful and successful than women.

I had originally chosen this book because I figured that it would have a lot of Spanish words or culture in it, based on the title and first few pages; however, I soon learned that there were only a few words and phrases in Spanish and the Spanish culture was not discussed at all. I do think that this book could be used as a mirror for children who feel pressured to be a certain way, because Oscar also felt pressured to be a moth and do only activities that moths normally do. However, I believe that this book can be a door to teach children that it is okay to be different, and that nobody should not let society put pressure on them to be someone they do not want to be. Overall, I believe that this story has a great message about not letting others tell you who to be, but I think that there could have been more diversity in the story as well.