Pipsie Nature Detective: The Disappearing Caterpillar by Rick DeDonato, illustrated by Tracy Bishop is a bright, learning story. At first glance, in the purple and pink, Pipsie with the cutsie name made me think: "princess story", but if this is a princess story, it's a new kind of princess story. One where the young lady is smart, well-read, knows how to do research, and solve mysteries. Pipsie is a scientist! Alfred, her sidekick helper, a turtle is great. The story starts off when a small baby caterpillar is found on Alfred's head. All three become friends, then one day Frannie, the caterpillar is gone. Pipsie and Alfred have a mystery to solve.
The art appears to have been drawn with pencil and painted with watercolors. There may have been some digital coloring too. I love the luminous colors used. Pipsie's features are very engaging and show her personality well. I especially love the pages that show underground pieces, where the milkweed plants are growing and in the the insect garden area where you see underwater in the pond. These areas show a natural way for parents and teachers to build upon more nature in the story than the butterfly life cycle. I also love the inviting space that is Pipsie's Tree House, every child will want one!
I'll use this title with Preschoolers to 3rd graders. There is a website, here. For teachers, parents,and children to further explore Pipsie's adventure. You can win a free book, make your own nature notebook, learn more facts, and go on to Alfred's blog. It looks like a ton of fun, check it out. The activity kit is a wonderful tool.