Exactly what the subtitle says. This woman went to Mexico where the monarch butterflies overwinter, got on a plain old bicycle (nothing fancy), and cycled all the way up to Canada, then back again. Along the way she counted monarchs, stopped roadside constantly to examine plants, move frogs or lizards or turtles etc. off the roadway and talk to people about the butterflies. She stayed with strangers or camped in her tent (usually in places she wasn’t supposed to) and gave presentations at many many schools along the way. It’s a travelouge about a bike tour, with all the details of that- dealing with traffic that doesn’t watch out for cyclists, finding her way in unfamiliar cities, fixing breakdowns on the way- and also her personal rant about climate change and human destruction of the planet, and of course a lot about love for nature and small living things- creepy crawlies and amphibians but also and especially, the monarch butterfly. I learned a lot of interesting details about the monarchs and their life cycle (I didn’t know that there are plenty of monarchs living in other parts of the world that simply don’t migrate, for example), about people who are helping them- whether by planting milkweed, making changes to protect habitat, raising monarch caterpillars, or simply teaching others about their plight. I thought I would really like this book, but it really dragged for me. Though I agree with the author on many points, something about the delivery and tone was wearying. The descriptive phrases are a bit overdone, the humor a tad old, the opinions fill in too much space. I hugely admire the effort she made, cycling solo all the way along the migration path and back, advocating for the butterflies everywhere she stopped, but I just didn’t love this book.
I appreciated finding photos from her trip on the author’s website, plus there’s lots more information about monarchs in general, and her “butterbike” project in particular.
Borrowed from the public library.