Winged Wonders: Solving the Monarch Migration Mystery

Sleeping Bear. Mar. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534110403.
Gr 2-4–Pincus explains, in somewhat lyrical (but not rhyming) text, the great annual migration of millions of monarch butterflies from southern Canada through the central United States and high into Mexico’s volcanic mountains. The butterflies settle in the groves of oyamel trees where the winter breeding cycle takes place. The text mentions the people who studied the monarch’s migration path: Dr. Fred Urquhart, a Canadian zoologist who spent 30 years tracking them and experimenting with tagging them; Fred’s wife Norah, who advertised for volunteer “citizen scientists” to help tag monarchs in their hometowns and track them; Ken, an adventurer; his wife Catalina, a central Mexican native who kept 40 notebooks of monarch facts and led her husband to an oyamel grove filled with the beautiful orange-and-black insects; and Jim, the American science teacher who caught and tagged a monarch in a Minnesota field that Fred later found among a cloud of monarchs in a Mexican oyamel grove in 1976. This tagging process is still carried on today by organizations such as Monarch Watch, Monarch Joint Venture, and Journey North, and along with planting milkweed and abstaining from using chemical sprays, it can help monarchs survive. Bright cartoon-style illustrations in oranges, greens, and black highlight realistic butterflies and countryside foliage.
VERDICT This book offers solid information about monarch butterflies and good ideas for classroom projects.

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