Mr. McGinty’s Monarchs by Linda Vander Heyden

Mr. McGinty’s Monarchs by Linda Vander Heyden
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Genre: Childrens, Nonfiction, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (32 pages)
Age Recommendation: 6+
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Mr. McGinty and his dog Sophie love checking in on the monarch caterpillars and butterflies on their summer walks. But one day Mr. McGinty is shocked to find that all the milkweed in town has been mowed down! And monarch caterpillars, he explains, can’t survive without milkweed. Can Mr. McGinty come up with a plan to save the monarchs? This is a tale that is informative, a call to action, and a sweet story time pick.

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The protagonist, Mr. McGinty, was a genuinely kind person. He showed proof of this personality trait not only to the monarchs he rescued but in his interactions with his dog and everyone around him as well. I really enjoyed getting to know him and would happily read more stories about him if they’re ever written. There was so much more I wanted to know about him!

There were a couple of plot holes in this tale that I found distracting. They both involved how the main character tried to save the caterpillars after their home was destroyed. He needed a great deal of equipment and assistance from others to keep these little creatures safe, so I was surprised by how the narrator brushed all of this over. I certainly wouldn’t expect the same level of detail in the logistics of this that something written for adults would contain, but it would have been nice for him to briefly explain how it all worked.

While the plot itself was fiction, there were a lot of nonfiction elements to the storytelling that I found fascinating. Monarch butterflies are such a beautiful species. I’m glad the author took the time to explain a little bit about what they need to stay healthy and happy. That information was critical to the plot, and it was also just plain interesting to read as well.

I’d recommend Mr. McGinty’s Monarchs to anyone who loves butterflies or nature.

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