Outskirts Press (2015)
Reviewed by Marten Weldon (age 10) for Reader Views (11/15)
“The Fantastic Travels of William and the Monarch Butterfly” by Christina Steiner was both entertaining and educational. The book is about a kid named William who likes butterflies. One day he catches one to bring to show-and-tell at school. As it turns out, the butterfly William finds is a magical Monarch butterfly, named Anka. That night Anka spoke to William and convinced him to let her free and to go on the migration with her.
The main part of the book is about how William shrinks and travels on Anka’s back as she makes the annual Monarch butterfly migration from North Dakota to the Biosphere Reserve in central Mexico, and back again. William and Anka fly over Mexico and learn about the Day of the Dead and how people think “butterflies are the souls of their dead children or the spirits of their loved ones who passed away.” Upon arrival in the Oyamel Fir Forest in Mexico, William and Anka are joined by millions of other Monarch butterflies, all of whom traveled far and will now spend the winter together.
The book has all kinds of interesting information about Monarch butterflies and their annual migration. One thing I found very interesting was that most Monarch butterflies live about thirty to forty days, but the fourth generation, the generation that makes the migration, lives for eight to ten months. Anka was from the fourth generation.
I recommend “The Fantastic Travels of William and the Monarch Butterfly” by Christina Steiner to people who like nature and butterflies. The book is a bit wordy at times, but still pretty interesting.