Review: The Amazing Monarch by Windle Turley

Title: The Amazing Monarch: The Secret Wintering Grounds of an Endangered Butterfly
Author: Windle Turley
Publisher: BenBella Books
Released: October 2010
Source: publisher (NetGalley)

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

In “The Amazing Monarch,” author and photographer Windle Turley chronicles the life cycle of the monarch butterfly. Replete with page after page of full-color photographs, the book shows the monarch’s rarely captured destination wintering grounds. The contrast of the orange and black pops off the page as the reader goes on a visual tour in the high mountains of Mexico. The multifaceted work also contains poems and quotations focusing on the beauty of these tiny animals that weigh only .02 of an ounce.

Granted almost unprecedented access by Mexican wildlife officials, Turley photographed the insects in their natural habitats at their sanctuaries in Los Saucos near Valle de Bravo, State of Mexico and at the Sierra Chincua Sanctuary near Mineral de Anganguo, State of Michoacan—areas unknown to outsiders until 1975.

This weekend was the Monarch Madness Festival at the Panhandle Butterfly House in Navarre, Florida, which our homeschool group toured last week. I downloaded this title on NetGalley in preparation for butterflies being our science topic of the week at home.

The Amazing Monarch is presented mostly through Turley’s photography, which blew me away. These images are so spectacular and vivid, you can actually see the “dust” (scales) on the butterflies’ wings! If it looked this good on my e-reader, I can hardly imagine how incredible the images must be in print. Thoughtfully chosen quotations and poetry are interspersed throughout the pages of photography.

Since the majority of the book is photography, it is probably more of a coffee table book. But the last ten pages or so consist of substantial text, full of fascinating information about the monarch’s life cycle, navigation and migration, and threats to its survival – all delivered in layman’s terms.

My 4 year-old was captivated by the photographs, pointing out details which sparked discussion. I learned quite a bit from the text at the end. The Amazing Monarch is great for butterfly enthusiasts of all ages, and has potential to grow with its younger readers.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.

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