Bug of the Week #kidlit: The Monarchs are Missing

Bug of the Week is a bit late for a good reason. I had a post all queued up and then a monarch butterfly flew by.

Not just any monarch butterfly. Do you notice anything unusual about it?

What about now?

This monarch is extremely skittish. It won’t let me close. See it yet?

This is the best I could do before it flew away. On it’s hind wing is a circular paper tag. This is a tagged monarch!

Why is it tagged? People have been tagging monarchs to learn more about the their migration. You can learn more about the tagging program at Monarch Watch.

Wish I could have read the number and found out where it was from.


Want to discover more about monarchs and their migrations? Check out the new middle grade book The Monarchs Are Missing: A Butterfly Mystery by Rebecca E. Hirsch. It was nominated for a 2018 Cybils Award.

Illustrated with large color photographs and clever illustrations, this book delves into all the reasons that monarch butterfly populations have been on the decline. Hirsch goes beyond the loss of habitat in the monarchs’ overwintering sites in Mexico, and examines other factors such as:

  • Increase in herbicide use killing their milkweed food plants.
  • Decrease in fall wildflowers that supply food for their long migration flights.
  • Planting tropical milkweeds, which encourages the monarchs to overwinter in Southern states, and thus increases the spread of a disease.
  • Changes in weather conditions in Texas in the spring.

To counteract the bad news, Hirsch also suggests some small changes that could make a big difference, like planting native milkweeds and avoiding pesticide use. She also encourages kids to participate in any one of a number of different citizen scientist projects for monarchs.

The Monarchs are Missing is part scientific mystery and part tribute to an amazing insect. It is a great choice for kids interested in nature and particularly in butterflies.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Millbrook Pr (January 1, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1512452505
ISBN-13: 978-1512452501

It will soon be part of our growing list of children’s books about butterflies and moths at Science Books for Kids.

Disclosure: This book was provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.


  1. Cassie Bentley

    You have good eyes. I couldn’t have seen the tag without you pointing it out.

  2. Roberta

    Well, it was behaving in an unusual way, which tipped me off.

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