Cover image for Winged wonders : solving the monarch migration mystery
Winged wonders : solving the monarch migration mystery
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Reading Level:
1460 Lexile.
Added Author:
"Monarch butterflies swooped through and people wondered, "Where do they go?" In 1976 the world learned: after migrating, the monarchs roost by the millions in an oyamel grove in Mexico. This was a mystery that could only be solved when people worked as a team"--


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book J 595.7891 PIN 1 1

On Order



For decades, as the monarch butterflies swooped through every year like clockwork, people from Canada to the United States to Mexico wondered, "Where do they go?" In 1976 the world learned the answer: after migrating thousands of miles, the monarchs roost by the millions in an oyamel grove in Central Mexico's mountains. But who solved this mystery? Was it the scientist or the American adventurer? The citizen scientists or the teacher or his students? Winged Wonders shows that the mystery could only be solved when they all worked as a team--and reminds readers that there's another monarch mystery today, one that we all must work together to solve.

Reviews 2

School Library Journal Review

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.--Susan Scheps, formerly at Shaker Public Library, OH

Kirkus Review

So, who solved the mystery of the monarch butterfly migration? Was it white Canadian scientist Fred, or was it the Indigenous people of the Sierra Madre mountains in central Mexico who had known for centuries about the monarchs' "secret" winter roosting place? This lively account relates the 30-year efforts of thousands of volunteers of all ages to piece together clues. From tagging the fragile wings of the intrepid butterflies to physically tracking their flight, people across the North American countries of Canada, the United States, and Mexico joined together to decipher the puzzle of "one of the longest known insect migrations on Earth." The chained answers to Pincus' question "Where do they go?" guide readers along the riveting path of scientific discovery that finally culminated in 1976 in the oyamel fir groves of Mexico. Imamura's colorful illustrations successfully capture the multiracial and multinational throng that was instrumental in unraveling the mystery of the monarchs' epic journey. The butterflies flutter gracefully over almost every page, sometimes singly and sometimes in joyous festoons. The backmatter gives a more detailed history and suggested projects to help sustain the majestic monarchs. Although the then-billions of monarchs have now dwindled to millions since 1976 because of insecticides and habitat destruction, Pincus ends the book on an optimistic note, encouraging the participation of us all in helping these "winged wonders" to not only survive, but thrive.A fascinating and inspiring STEAM-driven tale. (Informational picture book. 5-11) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.