Monarch Watch Blog

Book Review: “Fly, Fly Butterfly”

Monday, January 24th, 2011 at 5:49 pm by Chip Taylor
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Fly, Fly Butterfly book cover

“Fly, Fly Butterfly” by Diego H. Pedreros Velásquez

Interest in monarch butterflies has grown over the last 15 years. Websites featuring monarchs are now common. Monarchs are the subject of numerous blog postings and periodically the topic of newspaper and magazine articles as well. This interest has also produced an abundance of books about monarchs directed toward parents who might buy them for their children. The quality of these books varies greatly. Some have great artwork and not much of a story, others have a good premise but poor execution and still others are filled with errors – the most common of which is to refer to a chrysalis as a cocoon.

The intent of authors is usually to tell the story of the monarch to inspire a sense of wonder; rarely do authors connect the story to larger issues such as our stewardship of the planet. Most of these stories don’t touch me. I’m jaded, having worked with literally tens of thousands of monarchs and having lent my heavy hand to telling this story myself. So, my emotional reaction to a new book, “Fly, Fly Butterfly” by Diego H. Pedreros Velásquez was a surprise to me.

Mr. Pedreros has written an account of his family’s – and particularly his daughter AmaRa’s – discovery of monarchs and their annual cycle through visits to the Ellwood Main monarch sanctuary in Goleta, California. The family’s increasing awareness of monarchs and the environment that supports them is driven by AmaRa’s curiosity, with the help of an equally curious and devoted father.

The author uses the monarch as a metaphor for how we should face life and connects the fate of monarchs to how humans affect the planet. Excellent photographs by the author of monarchs and wildlife around Goleta are tastefully presented on more than half the book’s pages. The design, layout and artwork in the book capture the sense of wonder and adventure of learning about new things through the eyes of both the child and her father. It’s clear that this book was a labor of love that involved a large and talented team. Perhaps the book’s most unique feature is that it is bilingual, with all the text printed in both English and Spanish, with other languages soon to follow. The writing is clear and direct and it is easy to read and understand the text in both languages. In this age, as we watch our population become increasingly disconnected from the environment that supports them and when it is so hard to get children outside, it is refreshing to have this example of a child connecting spontaneously to the wonders of the natural world.

The book may be purchased with a donation component, whereby 40% of the $20 purchase price may be designated to go to Monarch Watch or another approved organization. For more information on “Fly, Fly Monarch” please visit www.forlymonarch.com

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