The Butterfly Garden by Michael Torres and Fern Martins

Have you ever wondered why the Kookaburra laughs?

This brightly illustrated board book will inform and delight young readers as to why the Kookaburra laughs. Told by Michael Torres, a Jabirr Jabirr man whose clan is from the Broome area, this story tells the story that has been passed down through generations about not only the Kookaburra but also the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly.

Fern Martins illustrations are simple and bright. Young board book readers will learn more through the vibrant illustrations, understand how the creatures move and interact and see the beauty of change in our natural world.

There are many different stories about why the Kookaburra laughs and this one is one that is new to me. I love how the Kookaburra listens to the butterfly and learns how a caterpillar changes into a butterfly before gobbling one up!

Patience is a subtle message throughout this book as is finding beauty and wonder in nature. Learning more about the stories important to different clans of Australia is also so rich and something that we need to share more often.

So what else can you do with this book?

Indigenous Australia

Find other stories about why the Kookaburra laughs and compare the differences. Plot on a map of Australia where the different stories come from and work out why they are different.


Explore the different adjectives used throughout this story and see what else you can use to describe caterpillars, butterflies and kookaburras.

Visual art

Explore the technique used by Fern Martin in this book. Look at how she uses colour in blocks to illustrate the animals, insects and cocoons!


One comment

  1. I enjoy reading stories of Australia’s Indigenous Peoples. This one sounds lovely, and an explanation of why the kookaburra laughs that I haven’t heard before. I’ll look out for it.

    Liked by 1 person

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