Caroline Arnold's Books - My Books

Caroline Arnold's Books

Home My Books Behind the Story Children's Projects School Visits / Teaching Awards About the Author


In 4 weeks, there will be butterflies in Room 6! Mrs. Best brought butterfly eggs to school. Tiny caterpillars hatched out of them. The kindergarteners gave the caterpillars food and watched them GROW...and GROW...and GROW....until finally they became chrysalises. Now butterflies are growing inside. The children watch and wait. When will the butterflies come out?

Follow a classroom of kindergartners as they participate in a popular activity: raising butterflies. This photo essay follows the process of metamorphosis from a tiny egg, to caterpillar, to chrysalis, and finally to the emergence of the adult butterfly. Children observe each stage up close as they learn firsthand about a butterfly's life cycle. Then, when the butterflies are a few days old, the children release them in the school garden.

Simple text and close-up photographs tell the story. Back matter includes answers to questions about butterflies, vocabulary, links to butterfles online and further reading about butterflies.

Raising butterflies from caterpillars is a popular project at home and in school, with supplies easily available on the internet or at many museums and nature centers. The book includes scientific information that is written at a level understandable to young children. It is ideal to use with STEM or STEAM curriculums.

Curriculum Links
  • Language Arts: comprehension strategy--compare and contrast, main idea/details strategy, cause and effect relationships
  • Science: Life science--animal growth and development.
  • Reading strategies: Click HERE for reading strategies.

  • Prizes and Awards
  • AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books Finalist
  • Children's Literature Council of Southern California (CSCLC), Notable Work of Juvenile Non-Fiction, 2020
  • Children's Projects

    Raising Butterflies from Caterpillars:

    It is not hard to raise painted lady butterflies at home or in the classroom. You do not need to start with eggs. Most people raise butterflies from caterpillars. There are a number of sources on the internet where you can order painted lady caterpillars. The tiny caterpillars come in a plastic cup, with a supply of food, and directions for care. It usually takes about three weeks for the caterpillars to grow, form a chrysalis, and transform into butterflies. If you find a painted lady caterpillar on a wild thistle plant or on a hollyhock leaf, you may also be able to watch it grow and transform into a butterfly by feeding it fresh leaves every day. The butterfly will emerge about 8-10 days after it forms the chrysalis.

    Time Line: How long does it take for a butterfly to grow? Make a time line of a butterfly's development from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to adult butterfly.

    Pasta and Paper Plate Butterfly Life Cycle:

    butterfly pasta

    You will need: A paper plate; 4 types of pasta: bulgar for eggs; ziti for the caterpillar; shells for the chrysalis; and bowties for the butterfly; glue; markers, paint or crayons

    Directions:Make an X across the paper plate to divide it into four sections. Label each section with a butterfly stage: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly. Glue the appropriate pasta in each section. Draw or paint leaves. Color the pasta if desired.

    A Butterfly's Wings are Symmetrical: Paint your own large paper butterfly wings making the colors match on each side.

    butterfly symmetry
    Related Books by Caroline Arnold
  • In A Warmer World find out how Edith's checkerspot butterflies are impacted by climate change.
  • In Animals That Migrate learn about the migration of monarch butterflies.
  • Reviews
    Booklist, January 10, 2019

    In this attractive science book, writer and photographer Arnold presents the life cycle of a butterfly as observed in a Los Angeles kindergarten classroom. The teacher brings tiny painted lady butterfly eggs to school and places them in a box with food. As the eggs hatch, the caterpillars crawl, eat, and climb to the top of their containers, where they enter the pupal stage within chrysalises. Transferred to a large netwalled enclosure, they begin to emerge eight days later as butterflies. Outdoors, each one crawls onto a child’s finger, rests, and then flies away. Arnold comments on each step of caring for the animals, as well as each stage of their life cycle. Along the way, she provides just enough information and detail for young children who want to know more. It’s enlightening to observe the butterflies' stages of life in the clear, color photos, but it’s also a pleasure to see the children’s reactions: curiosity, caution, rapt attention, surprise, excitement, and joy. An appended page answers pertinent questions. An amiable, eye-opening introduction to metamorphosis. Carolyn Phelan

    Kirkus, January 15, 2019

    Arnold revisits Mrs. Best's elementary classroom (Hatching Chicks in Room 6, 2017) for this look at the life cycle of the painted lady butterfly. Arnold uses the class's study of butterflies to present readers with solid facts about these insects in both the main text and leaf-shaped fact boxes. Mrs. Best's butterfly eggs come in a tube (she must have purchased them, though this is not addressed). The entire life cycle is both pictured and described in the next spread. The close-ups of the eggs in their different stages of hatching are sure to fascinate. On release day, each child gets to hold a butterfly that has crawled onto their hand. Though this book focuses on butterflies in a classroom, families could easily use this information to safely raise butterflies at home (several tips are given about keeping the insects alive and free from injury). The backmatter includes a page of answered questions about butterflies, a glossary, and a list of both online and text resources for finding further information. Arnold's photos are a highlight, combining candid shots of the diverse students and their white teacher with pics of the insects, both in captivity and in nature. Labeled close-ups bring readers into the classroom and teach butterfly anatomy. A solid look at the butterfly life cycle that will have students asking their own teachers to host caterpillars in their classrooms. (Informational picture book for ages 4-9)

    School Library Journal, March, 2019

    PreS-Gr 2. Arnold returns to the same classroom she observed in Hatching Chicks in Room 6 (Charlesbridge, 2017). This time she joins Mrs. Best and her kindergarten students as they follow the progress of painted lady butterflies from small blue eggs to adult insects. Photos document the steps required to care for the creatures during their journey from egg to larva to pupa to adult. The intent expressions on the children’s faces reveal their engagement with the process and their delight as they watch the butterflies prepare to fly away. The close-up photos, including the sequence of a butterfly’s emergence from the chrysalis, draw readers into the transformation. The clear, straightforward text is supplemented by facts supplied in small text boxes. A vocabulary list plus suggested books and websites enhance the information. VERDICT. A solid choice for most libraries, particularly those supporting hands-on science learning. Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State Univ. Lib., Mankato

    Good Reads with Ronna (blog), March 18, 2019

    PreS-Gr 2. Caroline Arnold’s new nonfiction picture book, Butterflies in Room 6, is both an educational and enjoyable read. Its release last week could not have been more timely, especially for those of us living in SoCal who have been privy to a rare treat of nature. “Those black-and-orange insects that seem to be everywhere you look in Southern California aren’t monarchs and they aren’t moths. They are called painted ladies, and these butterflies are migrating by the millions across the state,” says Deborah Netburn in a March 12 Los Angeles Times article. If Butterflies in Room 6 doesn’t make you want to head back to Kindergarten, I don’t know what will. Arnold takes us into Mrs. Best’s classroom to witness first hand the amazing life cycle of a painted lady butterfly. Colorful and crisp photographs fill the the book and are most impressive when they accompany all four stages of this butterfly’s brief but beautiful life. The first stage is an egg. The second stage is a larva also know as a caterpillar. Following this is the pupa and third stage when the metamorphosis occurs that transforms the pupa into a butterfly. The forth or last stage is when the butterfly emerges as an adult and the cycle will begin again. A host of illuminating facts are shared in easy-to-understand language complemented by Arnold’s fab photos. Helpful notations on each picture explains the process depicted. Seeing the faces of the delighted children engaged in Mrs. Best’s butterfly project is certain to excite young readers who may also be planning to participate in this “common springtime curriculum activity.” If there is no project on the horizon, this book (coupled with a video recommended in the back matter) is definitely the next best thing. Obviously a lot goes into raising butterflies and Arnold provides step by step details so anyone thinking about this will know exactly what’s involved. Pictures illustrate the process from preparing the eggs sent via mail, to leaving food for the soon-to-be caterpillars and then shifting their environment to one that is ready for the pupa stage before moving the chrysalis (thin shell) covered pupa into a special “flight cage” that resembles a clear pop-up laundry basket. Ultimately butterflies emerge. This particular part of Butterflies in Room 6 will thrill every reader who has vicariously followed along with the class’s journey. When Mrs. Best allows each child to hold a butterfly before they fly away, whether to a nearby flower or to find a mate, the reader will feel a sense of joy at having been privy to this unique experience. I know I was! The book contains enlightening back matter including “Butterfly Questions,” “Butterfly Vocabulary,” “Butterflies Online,” “Further Reading” and “Acknowledgements.” Arnold must have read my mind when she answered my question about the red stains on the side of the flight cage. Turns out they are due to the red liquid called meconium, “left over from metamorphosis.” While the book should certainly find a welcome place on the shelves of schools and libraries, I also hope it will find its way into homes across the country so families can share in the wonder and delight of butterflies that Arnold’s words and photos perfectly convey. Ronna Mandel, Los Angeles, CA

    Mom Read It (blog), March 7, 2019

    PreS-Gr 2. Spring is getting closer and closer, and that means that science classrooms all over the place are going to introduce their little ones to the life cycle of a caterpillar/butterfly. We’ve done it in my home, and each of my kids has done it in school, and it’s exciting every time. Butterflies in Room 6 revisits the Kindergarten students of Room 6 – a new group, since Hatching Chicks in Room 6 was published in 2017 – as they raise butterflies, starting from teeny, tiny caterpillar eggs. Full-color photographs and informative text take this STEM/STEAM story through the step-by-step process by which the class observed and cared for their caterpillars; feeding them, observing the stages of life, moving the chrysalises to a larger, netted environment, the exciting emergence of the painted lady butterflies from their cocoons, and their release into the world! Leaf-shaped callouts throughout the book provide additional caterpillar and butterfly facts, and back matter provides butterfly questions, vocabulary, and a nice list of online and print resources for further reading. Butterflies in Room 6 brings a real-world look into a primary classroom – it’ll get kids excited about science, especially if this is one of your classroom projects. Pair this with The Very Hungry Caterpillar and the classic that my kids all read in their kindergarten classes, Deborah Heiligman’s From Caterpillar to Butterfly. Rosemary Kiliditas, Public Librarian

    STEM Friday #Kidlit (blog), March 15, 2019

    Painted lady butterflies are in the news this week. First of all, they are migrating in huge numbers in southern California. The numbers of painted ladies are higher this year because of seasonal rains that caused a flush of their food plants. Here in Arizona we have seen smaller numbers of painted ladies migrating in both February and fall.If you'd like to see how to identify these butterflies, learn more about their migrations, and/or participate in a citizen science project, visit the Red Admiral and Painted Lady Research Site at Iowa State University.

    With perfect timing the fabulous new picture book that showcases the life cycle of painted ladies for the youngest readers, Butterflies in Room 6: See How They Grow by Caroline Arnold, also emerged on March 12, 2019. Caroline Arnold is both the author and photographer for the book and she has captured some fun and incredible images of both the insects and the children. Her 2017 book with a similar format, Hatching Chicks in Room 6, was a winner of the Cybils Award for Elementary Nonfiction. Back matter includes answers to questions about butterflies, a vocabulary list, links to butterfly information online and suggestions for further reading about butterflies. Butterflies in Room 6 is a must have to accompany a unit on insects or project raising painted lady butterflies. Fly out and get a copy today! . Roberta

    Science Magazine, December 6, 2019

    Metamorphosis—of ugly ducklings into swans, of jellylike spawn into frogs, of caterpillars into butterflies—always seems miraculous. In this book on insect metamorphosis, Caroline Arnold tells the story of Mrs. Best, a kindergarten teacher who brings a tiny vial of butterfly eggs into her classroom. Her students supply a vivarium with special caterpillar food so they can watch the metamorphosis of the eggs into caterpillars, then pupae, and finally glorious adult painted ladies. The book takes the reader through the course of the children's project, with a series of fine photographs showing the details of each stage in the life cycle of the butterflies. The exciting anticipation of each transformation is summarized in carefully considered text and culminates, of course, with the day the exquisite adults emerge from the pupal case, unfurl, and stiffen their patterned wings. Beautiful close-up images let the readers examine details of the insects' anatomy and learn about butterfly biology.

    Finally, a warm day arrives, and it is time to release the butterflies. The dazed insects first walk onto the children's hands before lifting off to disappear over the horizon. Fortunately, some hang around to appreciate the school garden's flowers.

    It would have been good for Butterflies in Room 6 to say a little more about why insects are having such a tough time now, as well as more about their role in pollination and human food security. Still, it is an excellent book, sure to generate discussion and flights of imagination among humans who are similarly poised for big changes. Carolyn Ash

    Grinnell Magazine, Winter, 2020

    For children ages 4–8, Butterflies in Room 6 (Charlesbridge, 2019) by Caroline Scheaffer Arnold ’66 follows a kindergarten class as they raise butterflies — from a tiny egg, to caterpillar, to chrysalis, and finally to the emergence of the adult butterfly. The children’s enthusiasm was contagious as they learned about butterflies and had the thrill of releasing them outdoors and watching them fly into the neighborhood.

    TWOBOOKWORMSBLOG, July 19,2019

    If you are looking to combine reading and an activity, this book provides a delightful inspiration. Raise butterflies! This book will help young readers learn about the process of metamorphosis in an understandable way. Now I know there are those blog readers who will think, “Oh, no, this is probably complicated and will require too much work on my part.” Really, it is not bad. I have raised butterflies many times, both at home and in a classroom. It is very doable. Just order from a reliable supplier (I always used Insect Lore, but I know there are others). They provide instructions. Nothing is terribly difficult. It happens within a few weeks. There is no huge daily time commitment. And it is pretty awesome. One problem, however, is that you might not get to see your own butterflies emerge from the chrysalis. It happens unexpectedly and quickly. The first couple of times I raised butterflies, we completely missed the emergence. One minute there was a chrysalis. The next time we looked, there was a butterfly. I love how Caroline Arnold’s photographs capture the process. Although this book focuses on painted lady butterflies, the process is the same for other types of butterflies, too, so it remains a good resource even if you select a different type of butterfly to raise. At the end of the book, Arnold answers a few butterfly questions. I am glad she addresses “How do you hold a butterfly?” Youngsters are curious and sometimes they can, unintentionally, hurt a butterfly. By teaching them care and respect, children can have the experience in a way that is safe for the butterfly.

    Book notes

    Several years ago, when I was doing an author visit at a school in Los Angeles, I met Jennifer Best, a kindergarten teacher. Each spring, her students learn about life cycles. Two years ago I spent time in her classroom while they were hatching chicken eggs in an incubator. That resulted in my book Hatching Chicks in Room 6. At the same time, the class was also raising Painted Lady butterflies from caterpillars, watching the caterpillars grow in a jar, turn into chrysalises, and, after a week or so, emerge as beautiful butterflies. It seemed like the perfect sequel to Hatching Chicks in Room 6.

    As with the book about chicks, I realized that the best way to tell this story was with photographs. I had taken photographs for some of my other books, so I decided to do it myself. I embedded myself in Jennifer Best’s classroom, which enabled me to follow the process and get the photos I needed. (A challenge in taking the photographs was that neither the children nor butterflies stayed still for long!) Spending so much time in the classroom also allowed me to interact with the kindergarten students, which helped me to target my text at the right level. The children’s enthusiasm was contagious as they learned about butterflies and had the thrill of releasing them outdoors and watch them fly into the neighborhood. I am extremely grateful to Jennifer Best for her cheerful cooperation in this project and for being my expert reader. I couldn’t have done this book without her.