on 9 January 2002
This is as much a book about people as about butterflies. A deceptively gentle read, as illuminating about those whose existence is dominated by the Monarch butterfly, as it is on the hugely remarkable phenomenon of it's annual migration. Almost as a sub plot Sue Halpern explores the nature of scientific endeavours and our perception of scientists. If that sounds dry, it really is'nt.
Butterflies have never commanded such interest as say birds, but how wrong this is. Tiny insects battling against the odds have never been such a good read!
My love for butterflies has slowly been growing over the last year. When I saw this book, I thought it would be a fantastic way of introducing me to the monarch butterfly in particular.
Halpern's book discussed the monarchs, but her book is also an examination of the scientists and laypeople that, sometimes, dedicate their life to trying to understand the migration of monarch butterflies. She makes use of anecdote aswell as research into the area, making her writing seem more about passion, rather than scientific drive.
As a beginner to the world of butterflies and lepidopterists, I was able to understand all that Halpern had to say. As the book progressed, her passion for these insects slowly started to weave its web around you, as passive reader. Her book has certainly made me eager to look for more information on these wonderful butterflies.
The only gripe that I have with the book, is that there are no pictures at all (apart from black and white sketches at the start of each chapter). I feel, some pictures of the butterflies themselves would have been the only way this book could have been improved.