February 5 – Western Monarch Day

CPB - Hurry and the Monarch - Monarch Day


About the Holiday

Western Monarch Day celebrates the migration of these beautiful butterflies from the Rocky Mountain area to California, where they spend the winter. Other monarchs make different journeys, as you will see in today’s reviewed picture book. Today the monarch population is in peril, but there is something you can do! In honor of today’s holiday, consider planting milkweed in your yard. Not only will you attract these fascinating creatures to your home, but you will be helping to feed them and increase the population.

Hurry and the Monarch

Written by Antoine Ó Flatharta | Illustrated by Meilo So


A swift, graceful monarch butterfly and a slow, lumbering tortoise couldn’t be more different, but the friendship between these two creatures in Ó Flatharta’s Hurry and the Monarch, illuminates the majesty of life for all.

On an October day in Texas a monarch butterfly lands on Hurry the tortoise’s back and asks where she is. “Wichita Falls,” answers Hurry, and the monarch knows her trip from Canada is not over yet. Before she continues her flight, however, the monarch and Hurry talk about their differences. While the monarch is well traveled, Hurry feels he has been in Wichita Falls “forever.” The monarch suggests that Hurry may one day break out of his shell and fly away like she did, but Hurry doubts it. And when it comes to dealing with cold weather, the monarch seeks out a warmer climate, while Hurry sleeps the winter away.

The monarch flies away and joins other monarchs on their journey to Mexico. It is now November, and the monarch has found the green forest where she will spend the winter with millions of others. With the spring thaw, the monarch begins her return journey, stopping once again to visit Hurry. Here she lays eggs on a milkweed plant and flies away. Hurry watches as the eggs transform into caterpillars and finally into butterflies.

Before hurrying away to discover life, one newborn monarch asks Hurry what he thinks the world is like. “I imagine,” Hurry says, “that it is like my garden. A place full of astonishing things.”

Meilo So’s watercolor illustrations are full of color and motion that beautifully depict both the gentile friendship between Hurry and the monarch and the astounding migration of the millions of butterflies that occurs each year. The natural world these characters inhabit is rendered in bold, joyous colors, and children will love to linger over the details of each page.

The Author’s afterword is a must-read, as it contains many fascinating facts about the lives of monarch butterflies and tortoises.

Ages 4 – 8

Dragonfly Books, 2009 | ISBN 978-0385737197

Western Monarch Day Activity

CPB - Monarch Maze

Monarch Migration Maze

The monarch needs help finding her way to the green forest. Print out the Monarch Migration Maze and show her the way!