Ages 9+ | Dream of the Butterfly Volume 1 (Lion Forge)

Dream of the Butterfly, Volume 1: Rabbits on the Moon
Publisher: Lion Forge
Written by: Richard Marazano 
Illustrated by: Luo Yin
Format: Softcover, 112 pages, $12.99
ISBN: 9781941302392


This graphic novel touched a unique chord for me. I’ve read thousands of graphic novels and have a short list of those that took me by surprise. Dream of the Butterfly is now on that list.

If someone asked me to summarize this hypnotizingly engaging graphic novel in one line I would say: If you like stories about young adult female heroines who are truly heroic and yet still uniquely human than you’ll love this graphic novel.

When Tutu suddenly finds herself mysteriously lost and transported to a foreign world of anthropomorphic talking animals she finds herself accused of what they see as the most heinous crime of all: Being a little girl! 

From the animals’ perspectives everything about Tutu is wrong. First, she’s a little girl. Second, she speaks when not spoken to. Third, she doesn’t know her place. Repeatedly using the phrase “Comrade” in what can only be seen as a commentary on some of the pro and con political issues that surround both communism and democracy, the animals don’t understand her. And they don’t want her there.

But not all of them. Some of the animals understand her situation and are willing to risk it all, for reasons that are heroically unique to them as well. But figuring out this world does come with a price, and Tutu must decide if she and her new friends wants to pay that price.

Language Arts Elements of Story

Plot: Tutu is a strong, yet self-doubting strong female heroine who finds herself transported to a mysterious world full of talking animals, and it is up to her (and some new animal friends) to figure out what she’s willing and not willing to do to get back home.

Major Characters: Butterfly, Tutu, Teacher, Rabbits, Thief, Judge, Cat, The Flying Bandit, Orphanage Chicken Attendant, Mr. Panda

Major Settings: Mountain, School, Snowstorm, Valley, Town, Court, Vehicle, Orphanage, Factory, Bus, Streets, Ferry

Themes: Coming of Age as a Girl, Fear, Homesickness, Manners, Politics, Equality

Lesson Plan Recommendations Using the Common Core Standards for Young Adult Readers

Key Ideas and Details:

Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.

Lesson Idea for Young Adult Readers

Directions: The decisions in this graphic novel are key, both for Tutu and the anthropomorphic animals she meets in the new and mysterious world she finds herself stuck in. For that reason, teachers can ask students to choose one of two options in order to both read the graphic novel and meet the standard for reading key ideas and details in literature that emphasize decision-making and a propulsion of plot-based action in the story.

  1. Identify 5 key decisions Tutu must make throughout the story in order to progress the story and its plot. Trace Tutu’s evolution on a timeline that marks each decision point (5) and the reasons why she makes each of the selected 5 decisions. Be sure to write at least 2-3 sentences explaining each decision and note the page number for evidence and future discussion.

    Students can keep this timeline by drawing a straight line across a blank sheet of paper and marking 5 slots for the 5 identified decisions they will briefly label on the top of the timeline and describe in sentences below the timeline.

  2. Identify 5 key decisions Tutu must make throughout the story in order to progress the story and its plot. Draw the evolution of Tutu’s features as she makes each of your selected decisions (appearance, clothing, accessories, and thought/dialogue balloons changes and or growth). Be sure to draw an arrow away from each key feature that directly relates to one of Tutu’s decisions and briefly label and explain it in a sentence or two. Be sure to note page numbers for your choices as well.



Dr. Katie Monnin is an Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of North Florida. Besides the joy that comes with reading comic books and graphic novels, Dr. Monnin enjoys a Peter Pan-ish life of researching and writing her own books about teaching comics, graphic novels, and cartoons: Teaching Graphic Novels (2010), Teaching Early Reader Comics and Graphic Novels (2011), Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning (2012), Teaching Reading Comprehension with Graphic Texts (2013), and Get Animated! Teaching 21st Century Early Reader and Young Adult Cartoons in Language Arts (2014); Teaching New Literacies in Elementary Language Arts (2015). When she is not writing (or sitting around wondering how she ended up making an awesome career out of studying comics and graphic novels), Dr. Monnin spends her time with her three wiener dogs, Samantha, Max, and Alex Morgan Monnin.