When the beautiful orange Monarch on her fall migration route from Canada to Mexico stops to rest at Wichita Falls, Texas, she makes friends with an old tortoise called Hurry. She tells him, "Maybe one day you'll break out of that shell, grow wings, and fly away," and then she is off again with millions of other Monarchs. In the spring, she stops again at Hurry's garden just long enough to lay her eggs and head north to Canada. Embedded in this lyrical and tender fictional presentation are the fascinating facts about the amazing 2,000-mile migration and the life cycle of butterflies. An afterword provides additional scientific data.
About Meilo So
Meilo So has illustrated several award-winning books, including Tasty Baby Belly Buttons, by Judy Sierra; It’s Simple, Said Simon, by Mary Ann Hoberman; The Ugly Duckling, retold by Kevin Crossley-Holland; and Countdown to Spring!, by Janet Schulman. Meilo So was born in Hong Kong and lives in England with her
husband and daughter.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I have always made narrative into pictures . . .
I have been drawing from about the time I was five years old. My grandfather had a mannequin shop; I used to watch him painting eyes and lips on the models. I have always made narrative into pictures. My first children’s book was published in Hong Kong in 1987. I wrote the story; it was about a naughty angel with three black spots on her
face. It was semi-autobiographical.
I try to keep my life simple and I choose a simple, light-weight medium . . .
I enjoy using acrylics and recently gouache (as in Countdown to Spring!). I prefer a medium that you can make corrections with. My favorite is simple black-and-white drawings. I haven’t lived all over the world, but I have traveled a little bit, and it has influenced me to carry fewer and fewer tools with me when it comes to work, and I think a lot more in my head.
I like to write and illustrate books, whether they are for adults or children . . .
I like to write and illustrate books, whether they are for adults or children. I like the story to be kind and optimistic. I enjoy painting domestic settings.
Since the birth of my daughter I am now more attracted to bold and simple illustrations . . .
My work is also influenced by a Chinese artist named Feng Tse Kai, who worked in the 1930s to 1960s. His simple brush drawings about children, childhood, wars, ordinary people—they are very touching images, but not sentimental. I also admire Ben Shann’s work a great deal.
The whole working process flowed nicely . . .
I enjoyed illustrating The Beauty of the Beast. It is one of those projects that you know is going to look good. The whole working process flowed nicely.
THE BEAUTY OF THE BEAST
Poems from the Animal Kingdom
—An ALA Notable Book
“Meilo So does enchantingly unreal paintings: whimsical watercolors made with a wet-on-wet technique that reserves the spontaneity of her hand gestures. In very few brush strokes, she captures the essence of organisms from stallions to sea horses. Yet the images themselves are abstract, almost calligraphic pictograms.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A [Canada-to-Mexico] migrating butterfly provides Hurry, a Texas tortoise, with perspective on the world beyond his garden. ‘Maybe one day, you’ll break out of that shell, grow wings, and fly away,’ the butterfly remarks to Hurry. ‘I doubt it,’ he replies, then contentedly settles down to hibernate. He wakes in the spring to see the same butterfly alight on a milkweed plant depositing an egg, which hatches, grows, and metamorphoses under Hurry’s watchful eye. . . . Together with its informative afterword, this is a particularly attractive, affecting introduction to the wonder of species diversity and the elegant continuum of life.”—Booklist, Starred