The Shy Butterfly

This is an excerpt from a book I wrote 8 years ago. It is a story about a shy butterfly that lives his life in the shadows of trees and is afraid to come out into the sunlight and play. The illustrations are by the talented Debby Edwards who added the perfect touch with her delightful pictures to my words, enjoy:

The Shy Butterfly

The shy butterfly hid around corners, ducked under leaves

and never flew out in the bright of day.The shy butterfly kept to itself, not happy,

not unhappy, just shy and unaware of the beauty of life waiting but a few feet away.


Each day as the sun would set and night begin to descend,

The shy butterfuly would emerge from the shadows flying cautiously from one nearby place to another.

In the full darkness of night the shy butterfly would sit quietly in place until dawn arrived.


With the arrival of daybreak and sunlight the shy butterfuly would move again into the shadows of the trees.

The shy butterfly lived a half-life of in-betweens in sheltered dark surroundings never realizing

what he was missing!




This is the beginning of a short story, a childrens book I wrote a few years ago. I wrote the book to remind children to not be afraid of life, it is an uplifting book filled with child-like drawings where the shy butterfly eventually (with the help of a Monarch butterfly) spreads its wings, and comes out into the sun to enjoy life fully.

Recently I was reminded that adults need this reminder too. There is a young lady artist/blogger, that I’ve been privately communicating with, right now, who is feeling this way and so for you …here is the ending to this story. This is for all to read and perhaps think on.



“Come,” She said, beckoning to the blue sky with its high fluffy clouds. “They call to us. Let us go and enjoy the day. This wonderful, glorious day.”

She flew up into the sky, sure-winged and effortless. She looked back calling to the shy butterfly, still perched on the edge of the rock.


“Remember, this new day is a gift for living and must be lived, or why have we bothered to be alive at all.


The shy butterfly took one final look back at his former world of shadows, then rose to follow after the Monarch. His heart filled with the light and beauty of life.

As he winged his way into the brilliant morning sunlight, he finally understood what he’d missed before. If you don’t live life to the fullest, then you haven’t really lived.

Don’t waste the most precious gift of all – Every day of your life!


Penny L. Howe, 2004

Copyright © 2012 by Penny l Howe

78 thoughts on “The Shy Butterfly

  1. Years later and I finally see all the wonderful comments on my illustrations. Thank you 😉 when I first illustrated this book for Penny ( such an amazing story I can relate to) I never imagined it would ever be published. But Penny is a fighter and she did it. Go Penny! You all are too kind. I am blushing. Thank you. Debbie (Illistrator, The Shy Butterfly)

  2. Beautiful Debbie Edwards illustrated this story for her shy and lovely niece Kirsten. Such a wonderfully uplifting story.

    • Hi Ann, I agree Debbie is an awesome illustrator/artist. I should have credited her for the art when I wrote this post. When I first wrote the words I realized that I wanted the illustrations to be special, just a certain way.Linda, shared with me that Debbie was a graphic designer and suggested I give her a try. She is an amazing artist, when she sent back the illustrations, they (as you can see from those in the post were/are absolutely perfect! The goal is for the book Authored by myself and Illustrated by Debbie Edwards to be published soon! My goal for both of us! Too much tragedy in the last few years of my life put everything on hold! But I am hopeful now! Thanks for sharing. I’ve never met Debbie in person, but her spirit is that of a beautiful butterfly herself. I’ve waited (as she) a long time for this book to be published! And you should be proud of your daughters, they’re wonderful people! 🙂

      • Ann, I’ve updated this post to include crediting Debbie as the artist, I should have done it then. When I realized recently that I had an actual shot at publishing the book I contacted Linda and through her Debby to make sure I would have Debbie’s current information handy and be able to update her as events happened. It seems with this book – it has been hurry up and wait, I am hopeful the wait will soon be over and the book will find itself being viewed and read by many parents to their children. Thank you for pointing out my oversight regarding this post! It is appreciated by me! 🙂

  3. Penny, this is wonderful.
    I think we all go through phases when we are, for whatever reason, afraid of the sunlight.
    Then when we feel it once again on our faces we remember how good it is, and how magical life can be.

    • Hey there Ste J, cold all better? Thank you, When I write I think about who the probably audience will be so gear the message in that direction. Although as I mentioned it is something we all can be reminded of. Penny

      • The cold has dissipated and I am once again ready to poke the world with a suitably pointy stick. Stories like yours are universal, and everyone can take something away with them. Of course there is the added idea of a butterfly coming from a caterpillar and being more beautiful.

  4. This is a fabulous story for all ages. It reminded me of some of my darker days and the beauty of finally stepping out of the shadows, into the sunlight. You are so gifted and sharing it all so generously with the blogging community. Have a weekend as special as the woman you are. 🙂

    • Good morning LuAnn, thanks. I hope you and Terry had a good week! I think I’ve always enjoyed writing uplifting pieces, my nature I guess.You two stay warm, it’s starting to get chilly up here! Sending a ton of affection your way my good friend, Penny xxxx

    • Thank you Sarah very much, Such lovely compliments. I do appreciate them, Isn’t Adams music wonderful, He has told me I could do a post on him if I wanted to ( Yes I am serious fan of his lol) so that will probably come out in the next day or so. Thank you again for stopping by to visit. I hope your weekend is going well for you. Penny 🙂

    • Thank you so much Sarah. My pleasure to share with others. Adams music is wonderful isn’t it. He ok’d me writing a post about him so I’ll be doing that in the next day or so. I listen to his music when I’m painting or writing. Thank you again for visiting and your lovely compliments,I hope your weekend is going well for you, best wishes, Penny 🙂

  5. Fabulous Penny — applauds here for your enchanting tale of the shy butterfly! Your illustrations are so lovely — and the story just darling. My girls were butterfly obsessed as little ones – so even more special…and the lesson the tale tells – so meaningful for children and adults~ Loved it dearest friend ~ ps: I think you may be on a new roll ~ children’s stories and wonderful artwork to match — that teach!! xxoo

    • Thank you Robyn, I can’t take credit for the illustrations, a talented young graphic designer (who prefers to not be named) is responsible for them. My drawings aren’t simple enough for the message I wanted to convey so a friend volunteered. I think she did a great job too. The story is important to me. If I decide to publish (yes the secret is out I’m a closet artist/writer) this one and part of me really wants to (to share) I would probably then do a short series, had several ideas for a few other books like this one. I have a fear of success, twice it came close and I backed away, silly I suppose but here in blogland, I feel safe, I can be creative and inspire, the two things I enjoy more than anything. So there you have it my friend, what say you…?

      • I say this is the time, this is the place! I agree, here is a safe place to share — and if it goes further than blog-land…well then, this was all in the plan for you, and maybe why you discovered blogging?!
        I love the idea of stories like this… I actually wrote one myself when I was in my teens!! I will have to find it — It was about a little girl who dreamed of being an artist! The morale of the story was: if you want something enough – and work hard enough – the possibilities are endless.. It rhymed I remember ~ and I never had illustrations done but always wanted to! Gosh you are making me want to find it. Probably in a box in my attic (‘Little Libby The Great’ was title). LOL! Ok – so I vote you keep conjuring up these gems ~ and share — and see where it goes. Compliments to the young graphic designer ~ perfect and yes, simple for your your message… Maybe I can hire her to illustrate my Little Libby story if I can find it and it’s not too pathetic… 🙂 Much Love to you dearest friend…. ‘struggle city’ here on the pain end. I made the mistake of thinking I could immerse myself in cybex weight training for the hip muscles this week — felt great during muscle activation, but femur freaked out post-workouts and keeps popping out of socket… very hard to rehab a hip that has no bone covering the femur head ;( Hopefully next week more information and planning for me there…. Sweet dreams Penny ~ xo

        • omg -Penny I just found it – it’s typed on onion skin paper on a manual typewriter. I feel old!! Who knows you may have just given me a spark of inspiration to play with it…. definitely would need to enlist an artist though … I had to be 14 when i wrote it… go here to see I’m not delusional and making this all up (under image of me at 18) ~ thank you for bringing this memory back!! You are the bestest – and keep going with this concept– i’m excited! xo

        • Thank you Robyn, do find “Little Libby The Great”, I’ll illustrate it (her) for you! Thank you for the vote of confidence, I appreciate it very much. I am sorry about the struggles you are dealing with there, it sounds just awful. Yes more info. and getting things taken care of, that’s the thing! Sweet dreams also to you my dearest friend, much love – Penny, xox

        • Years later and I finally see all the wonderful comments on my illustrations. Thank you 😉 when I first illustrated this book for Penny ( such an amazing story I can relate to) I never imagined it would ever be published. But Penny is a fighter and she did it. Go Penny! You all are too kind. I am blushing. Thank you. Debbie (Illistrator, The Shy Butterfly)

    • Thank you Amy. A butterfly is such a delicate and beautiful thing to observe, watching it flitter from one flower to the next, it seemed to me that a shy butterfly would well illustrate the point I was trying to make. I am glad you liked it my friend! Penny xx

  6. Hi Penny:
    Your shy butterfly is lovely as is the story, and it’s a great reminder for adults.
    Your butterfly is quite the opposite of my wacky blog butterfly. This reminds me we are all so unique. 🙂

  7. Oh what a nice beginning to a kid’s story. And – a nice reminder for us grown-ups too.
    The illustration made me smile. Did you do those too? I’m thinking yes 😉
    Well – Penny – when you get published & start making your author rounds – send me a tour schedule so that I can line up with my book & get your autograph!
    xx 🙂 🙂 xx

    • Thank you Rosy, the thing is the whole “success” thing scares the crap out of me, always has! I love blogging because it feels safe to me, I can be creative and inspire without the demands. I think you’re a nut! And I am very happy for who you are, thank you for all the smiles and hugs, they always bring a big smile to my face my friend! Penny 🙂 xx

  8. Ah ha! You pictures and words–lovely together. I loved the droopy antenna and am glad to see the butterfly fluttering and dancing. Any writer’s conferences coming up near you that can workshop your ideas?

    • Thank boomie, I haven’t been by to visit you recently and I apologize, it has been unusually hectic and busy around here, but I plan to visit over the weekend, I miss reading your beautiful poetry and your thoughts, very much my friend. Sending warmth and affection to you and your family this weekend, hope it’s a great one! Penny 🙂

  9. Yes, ma’am! The world is READY or more appropriately, the world NEEDS you! If we do not provide inspiration and means to develop our children of today, what kind of adults can we expect in the future? Would like to see more like this from you, Penny:>)

  10. Alright I can buy this book where? this is amazing and oh such a lesson. You should do many more like this as it benefits child and adult. You have been hiding more of your light under a bushel to..bring it out where we can all give you accolades deserved my friend! 🙂

    • Thanks Len, my little secret is about to come out! Other than a professional marketing guide (that I published some years ago) I’ve never published any of my work, ever. I know, my family bugs me too. I’ll think about it. Do you think the world is ready for me? lol

      • well if they are not afterwards they will be saying BRAVO BRAVO! AUTHOR AUTHOR! AND WHERE HAS SHE BEEN?!!!
        Isn’t that what we all want from all this writing or at least I do I dream of writing something worthwhile, not necessarily being rich and famous just being appreciated for something worthwhile.

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