Winged Wonders

Solving the Monarch Migration Mystery

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.

  • 2020 Finalist AAAS/Subaru American Association for the Advancement of Science/Subaru
  • 2020 EUREKA Excellence in Nonfiction Awards – Honoree
  • Winner Best of 2020 Picture Book New Releases – Innovative Nonfiction Category
  • The Original Art 2020 Nominee
  • 2022 Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nonfiction Book Category) Nominee
Format List Price Your Price Qty
$17.99 $17.99
$29.99 $29.99
Interest Level Grade 2 - Grade 5
Reading Level Grade 3
Dewey 595.78/91568
Lexile 1460
ATOS Reading Level
Guided Reading Level P
Language English
Publisher Sleeping Bear Press
Available Formats Hardcover (9781534110403), PDF (9781534166752), Hosted ebook (9781534166899)
Copyright 2020
Number of Pages 40
Dimensions 9 x 11
Graphics Full-color illustrations
  • Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nonfiction Book Category), Nominated, 2022
  • The Original Art - Society of Illustrator's, 2020
  • Best of 2020 Picture Book New Releases - Innovative Nonfiction Category, Winner, 2020
  • CRA EUREKA 2020 Excellence in Nonfiction Awards - Gold Winner, Commended, 2020
  • EUREKA Excellence in Nonfiction Awards , Commended, 2020
  • AAAS/Subaru American Association for the Advancement of Science/Subaru, Short-listed, 2020

School Library Journal - Winged Wonders: Solving the Monarch Migration Mystery

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.

Kirkus Reviews - Winged Wonders: Solving the Monarch Migration Mystery

Starred Review!
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.

Winged Wonders: Solving the Monarch Migration Mystery - Activity Sheet

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Author: Meeg Pincus

Meeg Pincus is a children’s author, humane educator, and speaker who loves celebrating and telling stories about real "solutionaries" who help people, animals, and the planet. She is a lifelong writer and has been a newspaper reporter, book editor, and essayist--but writing children's books is her favorite. It was as a newspaper reporter over 20 years ago that Meeg had the honor of meeting Miep Gies in person. She lives in San Diego, California.

Illustrator: Yas Imamura

Yas Imamura is an illustrator, graphic designer, and owner of the stationary company Quill & Fox. She grew up in Manila, Philippines, and now lives in Portland, Oregon.

  • Beginning of text
  • More about the monarch migration "discovery"
  • How to help the monarchs