BOOK REVIEW: “Butterflies of North America” by Judy Burris and Wayne Richards


There are new books on butterflies coming out all the time and I usually find out about them accidentally, usually by them showing up as a recommendation on Amazon based on my search history. When the book “Butterflies of North America” came up I was really unsure how it was going to be. The feedback on Amazon was decent but as many people know, you cannot always rely on these reviews. Thankfully the reviews ended up being based in fact!

American Copper
American copper.

Butterflies of North America,” which was released in May of 2016, is the latest in a series of books by the sister and brother duo of Judy Burris and Wayne Richards. Their first three books earned them numerous educational awards and I will be surprised if this book does not follow suit. They have both had a lifelong passion for butterflies and it really shows through in this book. Though it is not a huge book, clocking in at 144 pages, what they do cram into those pages is very useful and the book as a whole is a fun and interesting read.

JUNIPER Hairstreak
Juniper hairstreak.

This book’s two biggest strengths are what have allowed this series of books to win so many awards. First off, the photography. Wayne Richards is an amazing photographer and his pictures are absolutely stunning. As a photographer myself I can certainly relate to how difficult it is to photograph these beautiful animals and what he has accomplished is mind-blowing. I enjoyed his narrative in some entries explaining why certain pictures were taken the way they were, explaining that sometimes you just have to take what you can get.

Spicebush caterpillars
Spicebush swallowtail caterpillars.

The second strength is the text itself. This book does not dumb itself down for kids but at the same time, can be enjoyed by both kids and adults. It is a quick read with plenty of important information. This book is perfect as an introduction to North American butterflies, emphasizing the most commonly seen species. If you are a nature lover, or know someone that is, or if you have kids expressing an interest in butterflies, then this book is highly recommended to nurture that interest!

Zebra Swallowtail
Zebra swallowtail.

More than 50 species are represented and in many cases, multiple photos are used to show the entire life cycle of each species. If I were to have one complaint, it is that some of these stunning photographs are shown very small, due to space restraints on the pages. It is at times difficult to fully appreciate how much detail and clarity are in the some of the smaller photos. This is a minor complaint though as there is plenty of eye candy in the rest of the pictures that are of a larger size. All in all this book is highly recommended!

If you would like to order this book, just click on the image below. If you would like to visit Judy and Wayne’s awesome website, and to learn more about their other books, you can go HERE!

I would like to thank both Judy Burris and Wayne Richards for providing and giving me permission to use the photos in this review.

~David Albaugh

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