An Extraordinary Ordinary Moth – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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Title: An Extraordinary, Ordinary Moth

Author: Karlin Gray

Illustrator: Steliyana Doneva

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press, 2018

Ages: 4-8

Themes: moths, camouflage, insects, being special, scales, antenna, 

Genre: nonfiction


I’m an ordinary moth,
as you can plainly see.
A dusty, grayish, dull insect—
nothing special—me.


Feeling quite ordinary, a plain gray moth sadly compares itself to its more exotic kin, such as the Luna Moth, the Spider Moth, and the Hummingbird Moth. And the little moth feels even worse when a young girl sees it and says “Eww!” But things change when her brother explains that this particular type of moth is his favorite kind of insect. Maybe an ordinary moth is really extraordinary after all. 

Why I like this book:

This nonfiction book is told in simple rhyme and is a sonnet to the specialness of every living creature (including children, of course.) I enjoy how he author introduces a bunch of moths to the reader by comparison. And how true the disdain with which most of us hold the lowly brown moth, and how often it just takes someone with some passion willing to share their knowledge of something less known to us for us to begin to share in the enthusiasm. It’s a simple message but shared with a child’s enthusiasm for bugs and discovering the beauty in the everyday. The illustrations are bright full color spreads, and the little dull moth twinkles across the pages. 


The back matter, 10 EXTRAORDINARY Facts About Moths, includes fascinating moth facts and their sources, and a special activity for constructing a Moth Observation Box. 

This story fits well into a STEM unit and is perfect for the many children who like creepy-crawlies. 

Butterfly and Moth facts at Easy Science For Kids.

Moth Facts at Study.Com.

Don’t miss my interview with the illustrator this week. And an interview with the author on Maria Marshall’s blog. 


Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

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7 Responses to An Extraordinary Ordinary Moth – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. I’ll admit, moths have not been my favorite. I learned something new that will make me think differently. The illustrations are beautiful and will appeal to children. Nice choice for the beginning of Spring!

  2. Miller moth invasions (migration!) in these parts have given other moths a bad name, but this looks enticing!

  3. Gabi Snyder says:

    I love the theme in this of discovering the beautiful and miraculous in the everyday. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Barb says:

    I like the links you included. Whenever we studied butterflies in the classroom, we’d always try and figure out how they were different from moths. Good choice!

  5. Joanna, great review. Seems great minds think alike. This really is a fun book.

  6. I love ordinary moths – because sometimes their caterpillars are not so ordinary. Definitely need to read this book!

  7. This cover really pulls me in and the story sounds lovely. Wonderful to learn more about this book. I added it to my TBR recently and can’t wait to get my hands on it. Thanks for sharing.

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