Friday, June 14, 2013

Eliza and the Dragonfly

Eliza and the Dragonfly
by Susie C. Rinehart; illus by Anisa C. Hovemann
32 pages, ages 4 - 10
Dawn Publications, 2004

themes: sharing nature with children; friendship; discovery

opening: There's a dragonfly in my house. It flew in the window and landed on my toothbrush. I have to tell Aunt Doris.

When Eliza meets her first dragonfly nymph down at the pond, her first response is "Eeeewww!" How can that awful green creature be related to the gossamer-winged jewel that landed on her toothbrush?  Aunt Doris helps Eliza discover the secrets of the dragonfly nymph, which Eliza names "Horace". Then one day Horace is missing! He's not been eaten; he's just undergoing metamorphosis and soon he emerges a shimmery-winged flyer. As Aunt Doris would say: Magnificent!

what I like about this book: aside from the total coolth of aquatic insects and that it's a dragonfly? I love that Eliza takes the time to look, to draw, to be curious. I love the rich watercolor illustrations - they inspire me to take paints and brush to the pond and paint what I see. I love that what one person sees as "eeeewww!" another sees as "magnificent". And I love the back pages that contain information about life cycles and more resources.

beyond the book:
check out dragonflies with binoculars! (there's even a field guide to dragonflies through binoculars)

spend some time at a pond or in a hayfield watching dragonflies. Try to get up close and draw a portrait.

make a waterscope (to see underwater) and try some of the other downloadable activities here.

you can watch how dragonflies catch their prey on this video.

 This post is part of STEM Friday round-up. It's also part of PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review copy provided by publisher.


  1. Sue, this is great pick. I love the cover and the use of pastels. I love dragonflies and the fact that the child is curious and explores. A story about the life cycle teaches children about nature and all life. Beautiful book.

    1. and now that the video is back up you can watch them catch their dinner.

  2. Dragonflies are fascinating! Thanks for this pick, and the video, Sue. Have an inspiring summer!

  3. LOVE the watercolor illustration on the front cover! The first line certainly grabbed my attention as well. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Your description of why you love this book is infectious. Thanks for another great pick for my list.