Full review from the prestigious School Librarian, magazine of the UK School Librarian Association:
This is a highly original and exciting book. It tells the story of a war between the insects: the superwasps versus the rest. Two pre-pubescent children, Kim and Robert, find themselves shrunken down to insect size and drafted in to help. We follow their adventures and the saving of Leponea, the land of the butterflies, and meet some wonderful characters on the way: Morpho, the brave, resourceful daughter of the emperor of all the butterflies and her husband, Morphan. We also meet the demonical dictator, Wreka, leader of the superwasps. The book is masterly in its interweaving or the lifestyles of various insects with the demands of a modern war story: and Roberts understanding of military strategy which he learned from his computer games is handled with assurance and effect. Description is a strong point of the book, especially the battle scenes which are magnificently conveyed. They are realistic and convincing, and will allow children to begin to understand something of the horror, as well as the heroism, of all wars. The black and white drawings are sensitive, well researched and detailed, adding a great deal to the visualisation of the text.
An exciting, fast-paced book which will appeal to children between 8 and 14. Irene Babsky
The London Parents Guide: titles for 9-l4 yrs
Computer-mad Robert spends his time playing electronic war games. His sister loves the outdoor life and longs to help endangered species. Outside their doors, theres very real danger in the insect world - superwasps want to take control and are killing every insect in their way. The children get drawn into the Great Insect War and Robert finds his war strategy skills are the key to survival. He also learns that wars are not just about winning. A gripping fantasy on one level, there are many deep messages within the story. My 10yr old loved it.
'Monster'. the children's section of Bookends magazine at the Internet site: www.bookends.co.uk
I liked this book because it makes you really think
about the kind of experiences people must have in real life during wars. The
story is exciting - you want to keep reading to find out who will win the next
battle. I didn't like Wreka, the leader of the superwasps because he was not
loyal to anyone and killed his own men so that he could remain leader. I enjoyed
the insect Olympics at the end. I would recommend this book to children about
9 to 12 years old.
Josh Michael, Aged 9
Sunday Times (Funday Times) Feb 14 '99: a good review in children's magazine.
Jewish Chronicle Sep 3 '99: "Another story, though this one with its feet firmly in the present, is Neil Behrmann's Butterfly Battle......This is in fact that old standby, a story about the battle between good and evil, and the fight for freedom.... This adventure experience which will certainly make you look at the movies "Antz" and "A Bug's Life" with new eyes."
NorthWest Magazine Feb '99: "Written when films like Antz and A Bug's Life had yet to hatch.......Luckily Robert is a war games expert (he knows the defensive formation which had been so effective at the battle of Waterloo)....Perfect for all bookworms...."
Many people have written back to Neil telling him what they thought about the book. Here are a few of the letters he has received from children who have read his book:
|Dear Mr Behrman,
I really enjoyed reading it as the book was great! It is one of my favourite books. It has a brilliant start, which is hard to do. I read it twice in two days! I love the way you make such small creatures as insects come alive like a human being.
I enjoyed this book very much. It is a fantasy set in
the world of insects. Two children join them and have some great adventures.
It had lots of characters and some of them were funny. There were sad
parts but it was still good. The book has a moral: if you keep on trying
and trying, one day you will succeed.
"superwasp" - detail from front cover
"Butterfly Battle is excellent. I started
to read it immediately. As I read it I wanted to see what happened next. I couldn't
put it down and I finished reading it the same day. It is brilliant. I would
recommend this book to all my friends. It combines many of the features which
boys my age like; e.g. computer games, soldiers and combat, action. As soon
as I finished reading it, my 8 year old sister started to read it !
Chris Adams (11)
P.S. This is what my mom, Liz says: "Both my son and daughter were gripped by this exciting book and could identify with Robert and Kim. Within the story there is an antiwar message which is important for today's children to understand, i.e. that computer war games are very different from real war. It was good to see a book published as a paperback in its first edition at an affordable price. The picture on the front cover is stunning. There are also illustrations inside with the text, which is something that we don't often see in books these days."
Read further reviews on the next page: Letters and reviews from schools
If you've read the story of the Butterfly Battle, how about writing a review of it?
Neil would love to hear from you; just send him an email. He might even add your review to this site!