Chapter OneTo my granddaughter, Abigail.
At the edge of a big city, many insects lived together in a small village. Caterpillars lived high in the trees on soft leaves, and ants lived underground in groups called colonies. Other insects such as bees and butterflies flew around overhead. In this village, a fuzzy green caterpillar named Binky lived with her younger sister Mabel in an old oak tree in the middle of the park.
One day, while playing in the park, Mabel told Binky a story about how catepillars change into beautiful butterflies. Binky thought that was wonderful! She had always wished she could be free to fly around like the butterflies. Binky immediately asked, "Will I be a butterfly?"
Mabel said, "One day, Binky, you will grow to be a beautiful butterfly like our neighbors."
Binky thought about it for a moment and replied, "No, I won't! I don't look anything like a butterfly. I'm an ugly green caterpillar!"
Mabel said, "Just wait. You'll see that I'm right."
Binky repeated this story to her caterpillar friends. Binky wanted to believe the story her sister had told her, and could hardly wait to be a butterfly!
On a sunny spring day, Binky relaxed on her favorite leaf and dreamed about what she could do if she was a butterfly. She dreamed of flying to the big city and meeting new friends, flying over fields of flowers ...
... and chasing rainbows in the meadow with her friends after it rains. But when her dream ended, Binky said to herself, "I'm not a butterfly. I'm still a fuzzy catepillar."
While Binky was dreaming, Tilman the ant jumped up from the ground and surprised her. He looked at Binky and said, "What are you doing?"
"I'm dreaming about what I will do when I'm a beautiful butterfly," replied Binky.
"You're not going to be a butterfly! You're a fuzzy green caterpillar!" answered Tilman.
"My sister Mabel told me that one day I would be a beautiful butterfly," said Binky.
"That's not true. Mabel was just telling you a story," said Tilman.
Binky was so upset that Tilman didn't believe her, she couldn't even raise her antennae.
The next day, Binky inched her way along to the old log where all of the young insects went to school. Tilman was waiting for her in front of the schoolhouse.
Tilman told their classmates, "Binky thinks she's going to be a beautiful butterfly!"
First the other insects just stared at Binky. When Tilman began laughing, the classmates laughed too. The insects all started to make fun of Binky. Together they all shouted, "You're not going to be a butterfly! You're a fuzzy caterpillar!"
Binky didn't know what to say. All she could think was that Mabel had not told her the truth. Maybe she wouldn't change into a beautiful butterfly someday. I'll never be a butterfly, Binky thought sadly. Binky was so embarrassed that she crawled back to the village as fast as her many legs could carry her.
As she headed back to the village, Binky kept repeating to herself, "Mabel just made up that story about becoming a butterfly!"
Binky decided that she didn't want to face Mabel, so she changed directions and headed for the big city. After slowly crawling for what seemed like a very long time, Binky finally saw the tall buildings of the big city looming ahead.
As she entered the city, Binky soon found out that the busy street was no place for a small, slow-moving caterpillar.
Binky barely missed being hit by cars ... and barely escaped being crushed by people's footsteps.
Binky was tired from the many steps she had taken to travel to the city. Finally, in the distance, she saw one lonely tree on a small hill. The bushy leaves blew in the breeze. That tree looks like a great place to lie down and rest, thought Binky.
Slowly, the exhausted little caterpillar inched her way to the tree, curled up on a leaf, and went to sleep. What Binky didn't know was that soon she would experience a mysterious change! As Binky drifted off to sleep with the hot sun shining down on her, she had a strange feeling that she had never felt before.
As the sun rose, Binky woke up feeling that she had slept for many days. She tried to stretch and yawn, but she couldn't move! Frightened, Binky looked down at what had been her long, segmented body. She was amazed to find that while she was sleeping, a soft silk-like blanket had formed around her.
Binky wiggled and wiggled until the fine strands of silk-like threads unraveled around her and began to come apart.
She took one long breath and gazed at her body. Where were her many short legs? They were gone! In their place was a body with beautiful wings! As she flapped her newly acquired wings, she said, "WOW! I've changed! Mabel was right! I'm not a fuzzy caterpillar anymore! I did become a butterfly!"
Binky was so overjoyed with her change that she forgot all about Tilman making fun of her sister's story. "I'm a butterfly!" she shouted with joy. She proudly flapped her wings as she flew over the city and started back to the insect village. She couldn't wait to see Mabel.
When she arrived at the insect village, Mabel and Tilman were looking up in the sky at her and smiling. Tilman was amazed at the way Binky looked as a butterfly! He couldn't wait to tell her how beautiful she looked and how sorry he was that he had not believed Mabel's story.
Binky flew around Mabel and Tilman and raised her attennae with pride. She still could not believe that she was no longer a fuzzy catepillar but a beautiful butterfly. She was very happy that Mabel had told her the truth about the mysterious changes that happen to caterpillars. Now she could fly high in the sky with her new butterfly friends, just like she had dreamed.
Binky's Butterfly Facts
Welcome to my fact page! In order for me to be a beautiful butterfly, I went through a process called metamorphosis. That's a big word for the many stages of life that butterflies have to go through in order to get their wings. I went through stages of being an egg, larva, pupa, and now an adult. Yes, I started first as an egg. Sometimes there are a lot of eggs and sometimes just one that are laid on the tops of leaves.
From this tiny egg, I hatched into a small caterpillar called a larva. Now that I am out of my egg, I really get hungry. I eat parts of leaves that provide everything I need to grow.
Caterpillars like me face a challenge as they grow! Unfortunately, my skin cannot grow with me! My skin has to grow larger than the skin I had when I hatched. You might say I grow from the inside out at least five times before I settle down to be a butterfly. Each time I shed my outer skin, I grow another one underneath it. This is called molting.
If you remember in the story, I went to a tree in the city and fell asleep on a leaf. I started to feel strange and curled up with a silk blanket around me. This stage is the last time I will lose my caterpillar look. It's called the pupa stage. I spent ten to fourteen days as a pupa. During this stage, I developed into a beautiful butterfly. My wings, antennae, and mouth completely formed during these days.
When I emerged out of this silk-spun shell, my wings were tiny and wet. When I took a deep breath and unfolded my wings, fluid pumped from my stomach into the veins on my wings. After the air dried my wings, I exercised them by flapping. I then was ready to leave the silk-spun house and fly back home. Wow, now I have changed into an adult butterfly!