Farfallina & Marcel by Holly Keller
by Holly Keller
Topics: friendship, growing up, change
Farfallina, a charming caterpillar, meets the equally delightful Marcel, a gosling, in a rain storm. The two creatures become instant friends, playing hide and seek and going for rides out on the pond. "But one day, Farfallina was not herself." She climbs up a tree to rest. "I'll wait for you," Marcel called. Poor lonely Marcel waits as the bottom of the tree for weeks, but Farfallina doesn't appear. Finally, he gives up. When Farfallina wakes up with her "beautiful new wings", she has no idea how long she's been asleep and waits for Marcel by the tree. When he doesn't turn up, she flies off to the pond to look for him, but is disappointed to find only a "large, handsome goose". Both creatures hang out by the pond and eventually start a conversation. The goose gives Farfallina a ride around the pond on his back and when she tells him her name, the two realize they are old friends, just a little more grown up.
Everything about this book is delightful - the characters, the watery illustrations, the beautiful wording. Farfallina and Marcel have the cheeriest faces and their friendship is a beautiful example of consideration. When they play hide and seek, Farfallina hides on the ground because she knows Marcel can't climb and Marcel hides nearby because he knows Farfallina moves slowly. The telling of the story is full of freshness:
The rain fell all morning.
It splattered on the pond
and splashed on Farfallina's leaf.
She found a dry spot and ate it.
"Hey" said a little voice.
"You're eating my umbrella."
The illustrations also convey an outdoor freshness in gentle washy greens and blues, with bright spots of orange, red and purple.
This engaging, quiet book about friendship and transformation will charm both children and adults and you won't find a more endearing lesson on metamorphosis.
Holly Keller has written and illustrated over 30 of her own books including Horace and many written by other authors. The word "farfallina" meaning little butterfly was the starting point for this story.