recognizes the meadow the butterflies are describing to him and he
unintentionally forms an image of its current appearance---it's now a
construction zone. The butterflies sink into despair, then ask
John for help finding a new meadow. They ask him to take them there, but
he doesn't understand how he can help, and then...
picture books, there are always paintings that don't work as
paintings---you wouldn't hang them on your wall---but they work as
illustrations for the story. At the "art show" at
Harcourt, one of the people in the office looked at the paintings and
said they didn't like this one, it was depressing. Given the part
of the story it's illustrating, I thought that was one of the nicest
things anyone could say about it.
both this one and the last one, and in other places in the book, I tried
to imagine how the butterflies would view their old meadow, the
destroyed meadow, etc. That's why I left out all the details in
the construction equipment. I just wanted it to be a depressing,
dull, lifeless place.