The Tale of the Scorpion and the Caterpillar

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 The Scorpion and the Caterpillar is an engaging tale about friendship, loss and everlasting love.  The characters are on a heartwarming journey that will help a child to understand the metamorphosis in life.  The illustrations perfectly depict Daev and Gili.  This is a five star children’s book.

 Marcia Parker, Early Childhood Teacher



The Tale of the Scorpion and the Caterpillar

At a tender age, we begin absorbing lessons about who is “like us” and who is “not us.”   Sometimes  words and actions around us are direct and sometimes subtle but knowing the world around us is mysteriously split into camps is familiar to every child. And wanting to belong is fundamental.   Jinny Toucan’s winsome, wise and sensitive “Tale of the Scorpion and the Caterpillar” blossoms with hope and brims with optimism.  Perhaps the barricades dividing people are not so high.  Perhaps differences that seem insurmountable can be bridged with love.

The Scorpion and the Caterpillar, Daev and Gili, unexpectedly find themselves literally scooped out of their isolation and dumped together.  But they quickly come to understand that each of them has special gifts that protect the other.  In a fierce world out to gobble them both, they learn that together they are invincible.   

The scorpion and the butterfly each possess gifts of color and courage that complement one another and they live through adventure after adventure when one saves the other.  And then Gili begins  her metamorphosis and Daev is overcome with grief. Where has his dear friend gone.  But Gili’s cocooned absence transforms her into the beautiful butterfly who, though now in a very different form, can still rescue Daev.  They are reunited in a friendship as dear as when they both crawled on the earth together.

Jinny Toucan and the illustrator Terry Stanley have created the perfect image of the boundless nature of real love and the safety of friendship.  And they also bring the reality that real relationships survive even the most spectacular changes in outward form. 

This is a book to delight and encourage both younger and older children.  Don’t let others say who can be your friend.  Reach out to those who may seem, at first, different from yourself.  Let your friends grow.  And it is a book for adults who understand that fables capture the essence of what matters. 

Jay Stroud, Headmaster
Tabor Academy




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Serve up a storybook summer for your child

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Geckos, bicycles and scorpions, oh my! When school's out, parents can turn to local authors to supply fun and intriguing lessons to children.

Local authors Fozia Ahmed, Sharon DeNucci, Dwight Ritter and Jinny Toucan use animals as metaphors to teach children of all ages, finding inspiration in their children's lives or from their own childhoods for the stories they tell.

Four for summer reading


  • "Ryan and the Rhyming Rhino," by Fozia Ahmed, illustrated by Swapan Debnath (Mirror Publishing, $14.99)



  • "Emerson the Magnificent," by Dwight Ritter (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, $12.99)
  • "The Tale of the Scorpion and the Caterpillar," by Jinny Toucan, illustrated by Terry Stanley (Beaver's Pond Press Inc., $16.95)
  • "Grammie and the Gecko," by Sharon DeNucci, illustrated by Corinne DeNucci (AuthorHouse, $12.99).


Two local authors have combined kid-friendly themes with a lesson in the type of easy reading books that are ideal for young children. "Ryan the Rhyming Rhino" follows a rhinoceros who rhymes about the activities he does with his animal friends. East Sandwich author Ahmed wrote down the stories she told her children to help teach them how to rhyme.

"We used to play games and I started making up stories for them," she says. "From there, one day we came up with this character, Ryan the rhyming rhino, and it sort of came together. (We said) 'So why don't we make a story?'"

She notes happily that her children started to get more into rhyming after she wrote the story.

In "Grammie and the Gecko," Sharon DeNucci, who splits her time between Mashpee and Naples, Fla., tackles the idea of a grandmother, her grandson and a gecko becoming friends. Though the gecko and Grammie are at first afraid of one another, they find a common bond in the fact that they both sport pearls.

With 11 grandchildren herself, DeNucci "really wanted to do something where it connected a grandmother and grandchildren, and it's done that; it's been wonderful."

DeNucci's daughter-in-law Corinne, who lives in Connecticut, illustrated the novel, and a picture of the 11 grandchildren graces the back cover.

Brewster resident Dwight Ritter's novel "Emerson the Magnificent" also bridges generation gaps. His is not a simple children's book; the cover explains that it's "a charming little book for young and old."

In "Emerson," an elderly man reconnects with a talking bicycle from his youth. The bicycle offers advice and inspiration — acting as an angel — and the old man discovers faith in God and himself.

"This is on the edge of real Christian dogma in terms of it being an allegory," Ritter says, and he compares his style to that of C.S. Lewis, a noted allegorist who wrote children's books that had deeper meanings for adults.

Similarly, Jinny Toucan's book, "The Tale of the Scorpion and the Caterpillar," uses a scorpion and a caterpillar as symbols for social acceptance and death. The two insects fall in love and try to live together despite very different backgrounds and families. The caterpillar then falls victim to a "plague" that transforms her into a butterfly. Though it seems that she has died, the scorpion senses her presence and feels her with him throughout his life.

The "death" of the caterpillar echoes Toucan's own experiences, as her 23-year-old son died unexpectedly in 2004.

Toucan, who divides her time between Cotuit and the Middle East, describes the book as using an allegory of metamorphosis to describe death and believes it is comforting for anyone who has lost a friend or relative. It "opens up the discussion about death," she says.

"(The book) was a mirror of my loss of my son and having me feeling better that he's still around me and also my life."

Proceeds from Toucan's book benefit a scholarship in memory of her son that supports one student through four years at Tabor Academy in Marion, which her son attended.

Nancy Landon, owner of the Brewster Bookstore, endorses reaching children through literature geared to their age. She also recommends choosing books that include multiracial children, noting that the enhanced perspective can change a child's viewpoint from an early age.

Although young children may not realize they are learning, Landon says, "I think it just comes under the radar and they internalize it."



 The Tale of the Scorpion and the Caterpillar is a beautifully written book that illustrates the wonders of change and growth, even when we can\'t see the beauty of it in the moment.   Sandy Alemian - Author, Intuitive Healer, Inspirational Healer



The Tale of the Scorpion and the Caterpillar is a moving love story about life and death. The main characters Daev and Gili show us that it is possible to love one another despite our differences and that death is not the end. It give us all hope that we are forever connected to our loved ones. A beautiful story and a beautiful message! I highly recommend this book for all ages.      Parris Bauer - Composer, Pianist




From: Kathleen O\'Keefe-Kanavos


 The Scorpion and the Caterpillar has all the makings of a wonderful Hans Christian Anderson tale. It teaches the difficult lessons of acceptance between opposing cultures, and death as simply an unavoidable “beautiful change.” Ms. Toucan accomplishes this feat by explaining it in a love story between enemies that shows how love never dies. In our changing culture, a book like Ms. Toucan should be read and explored in every household. Its concepts are very timely. Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos Author- SURVIVING CANCERLAND: The Psychic Aspects of Healing CapeWomenOnLine Magazine contributor





By Melanie Lauwers


June 19


The Tale of the Scorpion and the Caterpillar,” by part-time Cape resident Jinny Toucan, illustrated by Terry Stanley (Beaver’s Pond Press, $16.95). A chapter book for older kids or a good book to read to all children. Proceeds from the book will be donated to the Tarik Toukan Memorial Scholarship Fund (


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All Proceeds from the book will go to The Tarik Toukan Memorial Scholarship Fund