An Extraordinary Life

by Laurence Pringle
illustrated by Bob Marstall

An Extraordinary Life cover
Jacket illustration copyright © Bob Marstall.

NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children
An ALA Notable Children's Book for 1997
IRA Teachers' Choice
John Burroughs List of Nature Books for Young Readers
NYPL 100 Best Children's Books for 1997
NYPL 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing

* "A migration flight from New England to Mexico and back again would be impressive for a large goose; for a monarch butterfly, it's nothing short of miraculous. Pringle and Marstall capture that miracle in this chronicle of the lifetime of a monarch called Danaus (after its Latin name). Readers follow Danaus on her perilous journey from Massachusetts, slipping through cat paws and struggling with bad weather until she and thousands of other monarchs find their winter homes in Mexico and California. Even there, life is dangerous: cold weather and predators kill off many monarchs before spring arrives, when they mate, fly north, lay their eggs, and die. Pringle writes simply of all the small, fascinating details that make up the monarch's life cycle, while illustrations and captions help readers visualize the information. . . . Marstall provides nearly photorealistic views of biological processes, but never neglects the poetic aspect of the information.
A superb, well-researched book that finds extraordinary science in the everyday life of a butterfly." (starred review) -- Kirkus Reviews
* "Pringle brings immediacy to his subject by focusing sharply on one monarch, whom he names Danaus. . . . The surprisingly absorbing story of Danausí life is followed by a discussion of the monarchsí endangered winter refuges in Mexico and an explanation of how to raise monarch butterflies from the caterpillar stage. Throughout the book, Marstallís colorful paintings offer clear, brilliantly colored illustrations of the caterpillars growing, eating, resting, mating, avoiding predators, and flying, flying, flying. An excellent book on a popular species." (starred review) -- Booklist
Back to Books I've edited. | Back to The Purple Crayon
Buy An Extraordinary Life at Amazon