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Children's LiteratureIsabel loves the oyamel tree that grows outside the window of her small mountain home in Michoacan, Mexico. It is especially beautiful when the monarch butterflies rest there during their annual migrations. In autumn the butterflies are everywhere and the townspeople rejoice in their beauty. But many oyamel trees are being cut down. The people are poor and when the rains do not come, the crops do not grow and money is scarce. Isabel's father may have to cut the tree in their yard and sell it for firewood. Everyone in the family has a sad heart. Then a plan flutters into Isabel's mind as though coming on butterfly wings. She and her mother could set up a small stand to sell tortillas to the tourists who come to see the monarchs. Perhaps they will make enough money to save the tree. Colorful paintings depict the beautiful countryside, Isabel's loving family, and the prolific butterflies. Based on an actual place and the real threat to these trees, this book conveys a poignant message. 2003, Sierra Club, Ages 5 to 10.
—Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.