MONARCH AND MILKWEED (Picture Book / lyrical nonfiction)
Atheneum (Leonid Gore, artist)

Every summer, I raise and release anywhere from 20- 100 monarchs. I bring in the eggs to protect them from wasps, which are even better at finding them than I am, and then when the caterpillars hatch, I feed them milkweed from my garden until they turn into chrysalises, and, about 12 days later, butterflies.

When the descendants of those monarchs make the return journey from Mexico back to Indiana, I imagine they look for the "Monarch Waystation" sign in my front yard and thus are led to the milkweed that now comes up all over the place.

Monarch and Milkweed grew out of my close observations, over a period of many years, and is beautifully illustrated by Leonid Gore.


Here's an interesting video showing how to repair a broken butterful wing, if you have a spare monarch wing that you have found and kept. I wonder if it would work with a thin piece of paper, colored to match the rest of the wing, if you didn't have a real wing.


Awards and nominations:

CBC/NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12

Buckaroo Book Award Master List (2008-2009) (WY)

CCBC Choices (Cooperative Children's Book Council)


Starred reviews from Booklist and School Library Journal:

“...Frost...found inspiration in her own backyard for this picture book ... From the endpapers ... to the author’s note ... every aspect of this pleasing book contributes to the whole. With a fine sense of form and use of texture, Gore creates a dappled, organic look in the acrylic-and-pastel illustrations, which suit Frost’s spare, poetic story well.” Booklist

"Scientific information is offered in a poetic way that conveys a sense of awe at the wonders of nature, infusing feeling into the facts without anthropomorphizing. The gentle illustrations with soft colors and a grainy focus create a sense of quiet inevitability. The narrative remains butterfly-centric throughout, with no human observers wanted or needed. An author’s note... retains the sense of wonder, daring readers to dream as it explains that “Although we have learned a lot about Monarch and Milkweed, many mysteries remain for future scientists to explore.” A lovely choice for natural-science curricula or for simple enjoyment." School Library Journal

and a great review from Kirkus:

"...By elevating the humble milkweed, the text invites readers to consider the whole environment rather than simply one part of it-a happy introduction to a sophisticated view of the world. Gore's pastel-and-acrylic illustrations are liquidly textured, a lovely counterpoint to Frost's poetic language...It's no easy feat to make something stationary that's as dynamic as a butterfly-these illustrations manage it handily. " Kirkus Reviews


For more information about monarch butterflies and milkweed, their host plant (the plant on which they lay their eggs), see:

Monarch Watch

Journey North

Monarch Lab: Monarchs in the Classroom

Monarchs need milkweed to survive. You can help by growing milkweed and encouraging others to do the same. I started my own milkweed garden by finding wild milkweed pods in the fall and burying the dry seeds. If you want to be more scientific and methodical, here is a page on the Monarch Watch website that gives more information:

How to grow milkweed


Monarch and Milkweed
Atheneum (Simon and Schuster)
With art by Leonid Gore

Monarch and Milkweed at IndieBound

Below: Children looking for monarch eggs (Lakewood Park School, Auburn Indiana)