The Monarchs Are Missing: A Butterfly Mystery by Rebecca E. Hirsch

Published by Millbrook Press

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Summary:  The monarchs are missing?  Some of them are, anyway.  In the last two decades, the monarch butterfly population has steeply declined.  How can we even know how many monarchs there are?  The answer to that goes back to the 1960’s when scientists first discovered the areas in Mexico where monarchs spend the winter.  Since then, they’ve taken annual measurements of the area the butterflies inhabit to get a rough estimate of the population.  There’s no agreement in the scientific community about why there are so many fewer monarchs today, but some theories include climate change, new pesticides, and agricultural methods that have impacted milkweed, the butterflies’ main food source.  Kids can help by planting milkweed and other wildflowers that provide nectar for the monarchs during their migration south.  Includes an author’s note, glossary, 3 books for further reading, an index, instructions for planting a butterfly garden, and several websites to help kids become citizen scientists.  56 pages; grades 3-7.

Pros:  A fascinating look at science at work, with plenty of photos and kid-friendly ideas for making a difference.

Cons:  The introduction profiled two kids catching and tagging butterflies; it would have been interesting to read more about kids acting as citizen scientists.

If you would like to buy this book from Amazon, click here.

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