The true story about the lifecycle of a butterfly

a book by Loretta Lutman


The Story

This is a delightful story of how the Red-spotted Purple butterfly begins her life as a not-so-beautiful caterpillar, and why she must lay her eggs on the tips of the wild cherry tree. It also explains molting, how the tiny caterpillar spends the winter, and the magic that happens inside the chrysalis. Illustrations are based on the author's photographs, enabling readers to use this as a guide to search for and find Red-spotted Purple caterpillars.

The Ugly Caterpillar, A True Story, is a story for all ages from young children to parents to grand parents. Children, women and men alike will enjoy this beautifully illustrated book.

Come, turn the pages and learn something that you didn't know before.


A Peek Inside

Enjoy a sneak peak inside of this beautifully illustrated story book. Within the pages you will take a walk through the flower garden and discover the true magic of how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly.

(Hover over the book cover to turn the pages.)

Front Cover
Front Cover

The true story of the Ugly Caterpillar

Come into my garden
Come into my garden

Flower garden with butterfly plants and songbirds

Red-spotted Purple butterfly
Red-spotted Purple butterfly

The Red-spotted Purple discovers a colorful world around her, as she continues the cycle of life

Front Cover
Front Cover

The true story of the Ugly Caterpillar


Reader Reviews

“How lovely! At last, a hungry caterpillar that children can follow into the garden to learn what real caterpillars eat, where they hide, and how to find them. An authentic account, told in a way that will encourage budding scientists to venture into nature to make discoveries of their own.” 


— J. Parker, Ph.D.Director of Conservation, NC Zoological Society


About the Author

Loretta and her husband live in Asheboro, North Carolina, home of the North Carolina Zoo, where she became the first horticulture volunteer. She assisted in development of the Butterfly Garden, and was also instrumental in development of Monarch Waystations throughout the park. Her passion and curiosity for raising butterflies for study and release earned her the honorary title of "The Butterfly Lady". She is a recipient of the Governor's Award in the Environmental category, and Volunteer of the Year at the North Carolina Zoo. 

She photographed and documented the life cycles of local butterflies including monarchs, swallowtails and woodland varieties, and developed a program called "Observations of a Butterfly Gardener," which she presented in Denver, Colorado at the annual ASAD conference (Associates of Zoo and Aquarium Docents), as well as NC. Master Gardener's annual convention, and other venues throughout NC. 

Loretta continues to enjoy discoveries in the garden, and raising butterflies.

Flower in Sunlight

Come in to my garden and you will see,

butterflies dancing all around me.