Book Review: Wendy Williams’ The Language of Butterflies is a profound love letter to a vanishing species

Language of Butterflies

Wendy Williams’ new book The Language of Butterflies is an enchanting look at one of the world’s most beautiful and resilient animals and the role they play in our ecosystem. It’s a trove of facts and treasure and all things butterfly and moth. From evolution, survival, nature and existence, it’s all covered here in great details, with few leaves left unturned. 

The book unfolds across three sections: the past, the present, and the future. Each section opens up into a myriad of wonderful facts and detail, including how they came into existence to the ways in which they are necessary for our future, despite the ominousness of their plight. 

The Language of Butterflies delves deeply into their secret lives. And they’re not about to give up their tightly held mysteries easily. Information on butterflies takes decades to collect and cross check and requires communication across continents between avid collectors. In the creation of this book Williams spoke to and visited lepidopterists all around the world. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the language of butterflies is the language of colour. In this book you learn how they speak to each other using their flashy colours. In fact, throughout this book you’ll learn so many new things about butterflies and botany, that you’ll probably end up discovering half a dozen new things, or more. From evolution, to which butterfly makes the best fossil, and all about the Monarch Butterfly it’s all there.

We often read about the pioneering scientific men of history, but The Language of Butterflies helps shine a light on the women who helped pioneer the study of butterflies. Lepidopterists like Charlotte Hill and Maria Sibylla Merian scoured the earth and put together staggering amounts of research and amassed collections that still continue to help future studies. 

The book also highlights that although the butterfly population may be dwindling and under threat, there is still hope. Butterflies are adapting and changing, as they have done for centuries, and continue to play an important part in our global ecosystem. 

If you enjoyed reading Sy Montgomery’s The Soul of an Octopus, or Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees then you’ll likely love The Language of Butterflies. It’s an eye opening, touching and profound love letter to a vanishing species. It’s also a stirring celebration of the joy and beauty these creatures bring to the world. 

FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Wendy Williams’ The Language of Butterflies is out now from Black Inc Books. Order your copy from Booktopia HERE.

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