It all begins with a 17th-century Dutch still life (Jan Davidsz de Heem’s A Vase of Flowers, for those of you with particularly curious minds) at the National Gallery of Art. When an employee accidently jostles the painting, two small butterflies are dislodged from the canvas ~ beautiful Belle and her friend Brimstone. There begins a journey to find their way home, navigating the expansive marble halls of the museum and overcoming adversity in the guise of a very hungry bird. Along the way, Belle gives us a butterfly’s view of some of the Gallery’s most famous artworks.
The book is intended for readers aged 8 to 11, but anyone with an adventurous spirit will be delighted by Belle.
I have had the pleasure of watching as Belle developed from the cocoon of an idea to a fully fledged butterfly ~ the author, Mary Lee Corlett, sits right next to me every day (my friend and colleague). I won’t tell you anything more about the process of bringing Belle to the world, because Mary Lee explains it best.