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MONARCH BUTTERFLIES - books at the 2nd Grade reading level

Monarch Butterflies are probably the butterfly that most children are familiar with.  It's bright vibrant colors make it easy to identify, and the fact that it makes such an amazing trip every year means that teachers like to make it a part of science units on migration and hibernation.

I thought the following map, which is borrowed from Wikipedia, was amazing, in that it showed the many places that Monarchs have been sited.  They are certainly more international than many of us think: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarch_butterfly

map of areas of the world where Monarchs have shown up

Unusual locations include Australia and New Zealand, and Western Europe. They are regulars of the Canary Islands, the Azores, and Madeira.

**All ratings from GoodReads




bookcover of MILLIONS OF MONARCHS  by Connie and Peter Roop
MILLIONS OF MONARCHS
by Connie and Peter Roop

4.00 avg rating — 3 GoodReaders

This early reader is from Scholastic.  It talks about the monarch's journey to Mexico when the weather begins to change, and it's return in spring.

Reading Information:
Word Count:  145
Page Count: 30
Accelerated Reading level: 2.0 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 105774
--no sample pages but one review available


bookcover of A BUTTERFLY CALLED HOPE  by Mary Alice Monroe and Linda Love
A BUTTERFLY CALLED HOPE
by Mary Alice Monroe and Linda Love
Barbara J Bergwerf (photos)

5.00 avg rating — 2 GoodReaders

This book is told from the point of view of a little girl who is outside exploring a garden. The book uses photographs and chatty text to teach children about the life cycle of a beautiful monarch butterfly.
In my mother's garden there are
many flowers: pink, blue, yellow
and orange.

They open their petals to the sun.
I call them flying flowers.
and from another page:
I look at a green milkweed leaf
and see a bright yellow and black
bug staring back at me.

Chewing... chewing... chewing.
Word Count:  497
Page Count:  32
Accelerated Reading level: 2.5 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 159802
--sample pages and one review available


bookcover of A MONARCH BUTTERFLY'S LIFE  by John Himmelman
A MONARCH BUTTERFLY'S LIFE
by John Himmelman

4.00 avg rating — 5 ratings

This book features colorful artwork about the monarch's life cycle.

I found this to be a beautifully illustrated book that manages to give the best sense of season and how short, but beautiful, the Monarch's life is.  Himmelman's artwork is kid-friendly and interesting.  He manages to convey a lot of information without a lot of text. 

sample page #1 from A MONARCH BUTTERFLY'S LIFE  by John Himmelman

sample page #2 from A MONARCH BUTTERFLY'S LIFE  by John Himmelman

Word Count:  317
Page Count:  32
Accelerated Reading level: 2.8 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 1592
--sample pages and other reviews available


bookcover of MONARCH BUTTERFLY  (Welcome Books: Animals of the World)  by Edana Eckart
MONARCH BUTTERFLY
(Welcome Books: Animals of the World)
by Edana Eckart

3.33 avg rating — 3 ratings

This little book from Scholastic features VERY LARGE print and short sentences.  In fact, the content and sentences seem very short for Second graders.  To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, here is the text from the first page:
Monarch butterflies are insects.
Other pages though, do have more sentences.  Here, for example is the test you'll find on another page.  These sentences are accompanied by a nice close-up picture of a Monarch's wing.
Monarch butterflies have four wings.
Their wings are orange and black with white spots.
The format for the book is the standard text on the left-hand side, images on the right.  Most of the pictures are great: Kid-friendly and interesting close-ups of a Monarch, a caterpillar, eggs on a leaf, and the wing mentioned earlier.

sample page #1 from  MONARCH BUTTERFLY  (Welcome Books: Animals of the World)  by Edana Eckart

sample page #2 from  MONARCH BUTTERFLY  (Welcome Books: Animals of the World)  by Edana Eckart

Contents
Monarch Butterflies
Wings
Fields

New Words
To Find Out More
Index
About the Author
But not all the pictures are so interesting.  I thought the two pictures that showed 'flocks' of butterflies were more-or-less useless, being unattractive and not particular clear.  Perhaps they are old stock photos. 

This book looks rather simple for 2nd Graders, but it might work well for children that are intimidated by a large amount of text.  Overall, the images are engaging.

Reading Information:
Word Count: 102
Page Count: 24
Accelerated Reading level: 2.3 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 87070
--sample pages and one review available
           

bookcover of BUTTERFLIES  (Penguin Young Readers)  by Emily Neye
BUTTERFLIES
(Penguin Young Readers)
by Emily Neye
Ron Broda (Illustrator)

3.64 avg rating —11 ratings

Lots of good information here about the differences between butterflies and moths.  And artwork from Ron Broday is kid-friendly; he uses bright colors and creative cut-paper collages. 

Carolyn Phelan from the ALA BOOKLIST writes:  Though the information presented is quite limited, librarians may want to have this on hand for beginning readers who prefer nonfiction.
   
Word Count: 436
Page Count: 32
Accelerated Reading level: 2.4 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 140660
Lexile: 180L
--sample pages and reviews are available


bookcover of MAGNIFICENT MONARCHS  by Linda Glaser
MAGNIFICENT MONARCHS
by Linda Glaser
Illustrated by Gay Holland

4.00 avg rating — 4 ratings 

MAGNIFICENT MONARCHS features lovely drawings in muted tones.

The information is presented as a story. A young boy talks about an egg found on a leaf. He continues by describing how the caterpillar emerges and begins to eat milkweed leaves. And how she grows and grows until she finds a place to hang upside down like a "J".
She sheds her skin once more. And look!
A chrysalis has formed.

My little friend is safe inside.
She stays in there for days and days,
while her whole body changes
in wonderful ways.
The book then discusses how the Monarchs gather and migrate. And how the pattern of their kind repeats as the cycle begins again.

sample page #1 from MAGNIFICENT MONARCHS  by Linda Glaser

IF you are looking for a strictly scientific approach to Monarchs this probably won't serve. BUT if you are looking for a book to share or one to accompany lessons on life cycles and migration, this might be a great choice.

The illustrations in this book are done in mellow colors.  The drawings run across both pages.
Look at what I found here in these weeds.
A shiny white egg stuck on a leaf

A tiny monarch caterpillar pushes her way out,
my soft and wiggly friend.

She eats and eats the milkweed leaves
She grows and grows until...
At the end of the book there is a section of Questions and Answers.
How many eggs does a monarch butterfly lay?
Do monarch caterpillars eat any other plants besides milkweed?
Are caterpillars a type of worm?
How long does it take a monarch caterpillar to become a butterfly?
... and more

sample page #2 from MAGNIFICENT MONARCHS  by Linda Glaser

Word Count: 281
Page Count: 32
Accelerated Reading level: 2.4 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 48538
--sample pages and reviews are available


bookcover of MONARCH BUTTERFLIES  by Laura Hamilton Waxman
MONARCH BUTTERFLIES
(Pull Ahead Books)
by Laura Hamilton Waxman

4.33 avg rating — 3 ratings

I like this little book. The pictures are bright and interesting and it actually covers quite a bit of material.

To begin with the book defines what a Monarch is. It tells children that a monarch is a butterfly .AND. an insect. That it has four wings which are orange, black, and white.  And unlike other books that I've read, this one has a wonderful up-close photo of the butterfly's wing's scales.

My favorite part though are the photos of the tiny larva hatching from a butterfly egg.

sample page #1 from MONARCH BUTTERFLIES by Laura Hamilton Waxman
At the end there's a map of where Monarchs live, a diagram with parts labelled, as well as a glossary and something called a "Hunt and Find".  The latter is a sort of game where children are given a phrase and some page numbers, and are asked to find the phrase.

sample page #2 from MONARCH BUTTERFLIES by Laura Hamilton Waxman
Each page features a picture, and one to three sentences. Here is some sample text from one page:
Take a closer look at these wings.
Do you see the scales?

The scales protect monarchs
from the rain.
Reading Information:
Word Count:  414
Page Count:  32
Accelerated Reader: 2.5 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 66255
--sample pages available


bookcover of MONARCH BUTTERFLIES  by Helen Frost
MONARCH BUTTERFLIES
by Helen Frost

2.67 avg rating — 3 ratings 

Could not find much information about this book and the reviewers at GoodReads didn't seem to like it. 

Word Count: 57
Page Count: 24
Accelerated Reader: 2.7 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 31804
Lexile: NC610L
-- no sample pages

compiled by Pam




I went and looked at the Butterfly Kits that Amazon offers and below you'll find the ones that gave people the most satisfaction.  These kits, I should note, all use Painted Lady butterflies, and not Monarchs.

Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden by Insect Lore
Insect Lore Live Butterfly Pavilion by Insect Lore

The difference between these two --besides price-- is the size of the butterfly habitat

 Live Butterfly Kit: SHIPPED WITH 5 Painted Lady Caterpillars Now by Nature Gift Store
I've included this one because it got a high rating but it's very expensive.

5 Live Caterpillars Shipped Now - Butterfly Kit Refill