The children’s book Vern and His Butterfly Migration tells the story of the migration of monarch butterflies from the north to the southern part of the United States and Mexico. The book stars Vern, a young monarch, and his large family as the tireless butterflies travel across the country and celebrate a special friendship made along the way.
The book opens with a simple outline of the butterflies’ migration story. The reader travels with Vern as he and his family fly across the Great Lakes and past forests, over waterfalls, massive cities and towering mountains. Along the way, Vern runs into a family of children he met earlier in the summer. The friends enjoy a fun-filled reunion, riding the roller coaster and the merry-go-round at a theme park and visiting a water park and a zoo. Everyone has a wonderful time until it’s time for the butterflies to continue on their migration adventure.
The story of the monarch butterfly migration is endlessly rich; it is a great idea for a picture book for children. Unfortunately, Vern and His Butterfly Migration misses the mark. The story tries to do too many things at once: part storybook about Vern and his human friends, and part non-fiction explication of the migration process, the story becomes hard to follow. Grammatical errors add to the confusion.
More importantly, this isn’t really a picture book. Instead of bright, colorful illustrations or photos, the author uses small generic photos and clip art interspersed on text-heavy pages. As a result, despite the educational value and the author’s good intentions, this book will likely appeal to a limited audience of readers.