cover image Butterfly Tree

Butterfly Tree

Sandra Markle, illus. by Leslie Wu. Peachtree, $16.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-56145-539-3

Markle (Hip-Pocket Papa) introduces monarch migration as a slightly spooky mystery, building tension as a girl, standing on the shore of Lake Erie, witnesses a strange cloud in the sky. "But this cloud isn't white or gray. It's orange, and it shimmers," Markle writes as Wu (The Very Best Daddy of All) shows the cloud as a pale alien spaceship. The girl and her mother locate the cloud in the woods; it's a swarm of monarchs that have turned a single tree orange. "The tree looks like it is in motion. All the butterflies are slowly fanning their wings." Wu's soft-edged pastel spreads, while perfectly suited for sweeping views of the lakeshore and gentle portraits of clouds, lack the definition necessary to see just what a monarch-covered tree looks like; it's shown indistinctly, from a distance. After the suspense of the opening, Markle's text slows down a tad, but as the narrator says, "When you're making a memory you want it to last as long as possible." Readers will be left wishing that just once in their lives they could see this miraculous sight. Ages 4%E2%80%938. (Sept.)