Bicycling with Butterflies: My 10,201-Mile Journey Following the Monarch Migration

Timber Pr. Apr. 2021. 280p. ISBN 9781643260457. $27.95. NAT HIST
People have long been fascinated by the monarch butterfly’s migration across the North American continent. Thanks to this book, readers have a better idea of what that incredible journey entails. Dykman, founder of the adventure education program Beyond A Book, spent over nine months biking 10,201 miles with the monarchs, from Mexico to Canada and back again. For her, it was more than a way to experience the monarchs’ travel; it was a project to raise awareness. She stops along the way to talk with students in classrooms, as well as strangers curious about what she’s doing. As she writes, “No one can talk to everyone, but everyone can talk to someone.” The book offers a unique premise and Dykman’s enthusiasm will motivate others to be more thoughtful about their decisions, from planting milkweed to mowing the lawn. Those who are interested in monarchs and conservation efforts will appreciate the story. However, readers might struggle to connect to the narrative. The author’s expertise is not explained until nearly a third of the way through, and the text suffers from unnecessary details of the journey and surprisingly flat character sketches of interesting people who are devoted to the monarchs’ cause.
VERDICT Important information in an uneven read. Best suited for avid readers of natural history.
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