105 Ways to Give a Book

Poetry Friday: Red Butterfly

Red ButterflyWhen a young Chinese princess is sent from her father’s kingdom to marry a king in a faraway land, she brings along the secret most treasured by her people. Red Butterfly: How a Princess Smuggled the Secret of Silk Out of China, by Deborah Noyes, brings the story to life with spare free verse, retold in the style of T’ang Dynasty poetry.
In my father’s kingdom
there are many splendors.
Most valued of all is silk.
Faraway rulers wish for China’s
wealth and call it
woven wind.

Silk, my red butterfly wings flapping,
is our people’s solemn secret,
thousands of moons old,
spun by a little worm that feeds
on the mulberry leaves
in Father’s gardens.
While I walk,
it whispers,
The text is lovely, if perhaps sometimes obscure for younger readers. The illustrations by Sophie Blackall are breathtaking, capturing a traditional Asian style and fusing it with an original interpretation. Months ago, the stunning cover of this book caught my eye, and the pages within did not disappoint. Simply a lovely book in art and word. It could be paired with The Silk Princess for a fuller story of one of China’s true gifts to the world.

Poetry Friday is hosted by Wild Rose Reader. Head over and see what else is in store for you there.


Cloudscome said...

We have this one too. I love the illustrations. The text made me feel a bit uncomfortable as it raised my feminist radar. I kept wanting to argue with that fate.

TadMack said...

This sounds gorgeous - definitely a bit old for MG readers, but the imagery is really memorable.