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Little Monarchs

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This graphic novel adventure tells the story of 10-year-old Elvie and her crucial mission to save humanity from extinction after a sun shift has changed life on earth as we know it. It's been fifty years since a sun shift wiped out nearly all mammal life across the earth. Towns and cities are abandoned relics, autonomous machines maintain roadways, and the world is slowly be This graphic novel adventure tells the story of 10-year-old Elvie and her crucial mission to save humanity from extinction after a sun shift has changed life on earth as we know it. It's been fifty years since a sun shift wiped out nearly all mammal life across the earth. Towns and cities are abandoned relics, autonomous machines maintain roadways, and the world is slowly being reclaimed by nature. Isolated pockets of survivors keep to themselves in underground sites, hiding from the lethal sunlight by day and coming above ground at night. 10-year-old Elvie and her caretaker, Flora, a biologist, are the only two humans who can survive during daylight because Flora made an incredible discovery - a way to make an antidote to sun sickness using the scales from monarch butterfly wings. Unfortunately, it can only be made in small quantities and has a short shelf life. Free to travel during the day, Elvie and Flora follow monarchs as they migrate across the former Western United States, constantly making new medicine for themselves while trying to find a way to make a vaccine they can share with everyone. Will they discover a way to go from a treatment to a cure and preserve what remains of humanity, or will their efforts be thwarted by disaster and the very people they are trying to save? Little Monarchs is a new kind of graphic novel adventure--one that invites readers to take an intimate look at the natural world and the secrets hidden within. Elvie and Flora's adventures take place in real locations marked panel-by-panel with coordinates and a compass heading. Curious readers can follow their travel routes and see the same landscapes--whether it be a secluded butterfly grove on the California coast or a hot-springs in the high desert. Through both comic narrative and journal entries, readers learn the basics of star navigation, how to tie useful knots, and other survival skills applicable in the natural world. Creator Jonathan Case acquired the fact-based portion of Little Monarchs through intensive research and several expeditions to study monarchs across the western United States. Scientific support also came from the Xerces Society, the world leaders in monarch preservation. A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection


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This graphic novel adventure tells the story of 10-year-old Elvie and her crucial mission to save humanity from extinction after a sun shift has changed life on earth as we know it. It's been fifty years since a sun shift wiped out nearly all mammal life across the earth. Towns and cities are abandoned relics, autonomous machines maintain roadways, and the world is slowly be This graphic novel adventure tells the story of 10-year-old Elvie and her crucial mission to save humanity from extinction after a sun shift has changed life on earth as we know it. It's been fifty years since a sun shift wiped out nearly all mammal life across the earth. Towns and cities are abandoned relics, autonomous machines maintain roadways, and the world is slowly being reclaimed by nature. Isolated pockets of survivors keep to themselves in underground sites, hiding from the lethal sunlight by day and coming above ground at night. 10-year-old Elvie and her caretaker, Flora, a biologist, are the only two humans who can survive during daylight because Flora made an incredible discovery - a way to make an antidote to sun sickness using the scales from monarch butterfly wings. Unfortunately, it can only be made in small quantities and has a short shelf life. Free to travel during the day, Elvie and Flora follow monarchs as they migrate across the former Western United States, constantly making new medicine for themselves while trying to find a way to make a vaccine they can share with everyone. Will they discover a way to go from a treatment to a cure and preserve what remains of humanity, or will their efforts be thwarted by disaster and the very people they are trying to save? Little Monarchs is a new kind of graphic novel adventure--one that invites readers to take an intimate look at the natural world and the secrets hidden within. Elvie and Flora's adventures take place in real locations marked panel-by-panel with coordinates and a compass heading. Curious readers can follow their travel routes and see the same landscapes--whether it be a secluded butterfly grove on the California coast or a hot-springs in the high desert. Through both comic narrative and journal entries, readers learn the basics of star navigation, how to tie useful knots, and other survival skills applicable in the natural world. Creator Jonathan Case acquired the fact-based portion of Little Monarchs through intensive research and several expeditions to study monarchs across the western United States. Scientific support also came from the Xerces Society, the world leaders in monarch preservation. A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

30 review for Little Monarchs

  1. 4 out of 5

    Eva La Mar

    This book was so compelling that I could not put it down. I was drawn to it as a kayaker and found that every part of the plot had me drawn in. The female characters are strong and smart, so very capable of overcoming obstacles. The plot was fresh and interesting, as was the science of monarchs. The graphics were a fetching combination of graphic novel and a child’s scientific notebook. I found myself rereading the notebook parts because they were so fascinating. The kayaks played an interesting This book was so compelling that I could not put it down. I was drawn to it as a kayaker and found that every part of the plot had me drawn in. The female characters are strong and smart, so very capable of overcoming obstacles. The plot was fresh and interesting, as was the science of monarchs. The graphics were a fetching combination of graphic novel and a child’s scientific notebook. I found myself rereading the notebook parts because they were so fascinating. The kayaks played an interesting part of the storyline. Having kayaked in the same areas as this story takes place, it’s obvious that the author has done extensive research. Now I wait for the next book Jonathan Case.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth☮

    A post-apocalyptic graphic novel for middle readers? Yes please. Elvie is a young girl that travels with her caretaker Flora as they search for monarch butterflies. The monarchs hold the answer to the cure for sun sickness. The sun has shifted and is closer to Earth thus a mysterious illness begins to kill off the population (mammals are only affected). To avoid illness, people begin living underground. Many generations have never known life on terra firma. Flora is a biologist that is nearing t A post-apocalyptic graphic novel for middle readers? Yes please. Elvie is a young girl that travels with her caretaker Flora as they search for monarch butterflies. The monarchs hold the answer to the cure for sun sickness. The sun has shifted and is closer to Earth thus a mysterious illness begins to kill off the population (mammals are only affected). To avoid illness, people begin living underground. Many generations have never known life on terra firma. Flora is a biologist that is nearing the cure. She and Elvie can take an antidote she has created, but it doesn't last long and it requires the scales of monarchs. The illustrations are vivdly drawn and the characters well drawn with expressive faces. I also liked how Elvie's field notes are included. She may be living in a post-apocalpytic world, but she continues to learn and study nature. I enjoyed every moment of this one.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Donovan

    In the post-apocalyptic graphic novel, Little Monarchs, monarch butterflies are the key to a vaccine that will allow humans to once again live above ground and not die of sun sickness – what an original premise for this new graphic novel written by the talented artist and author, Jonathan Case. I loved every part of it! From the amazing water-color painted graphics, to the wit and spunk of the main protagonist, ten-year old Elvie, to the heart-warming story that kept me on edge, this story is one In the post-apocalyptic graphic novel, Little Monarchs, monarch butterflies are the key to a vaccine that will allow humans to once again live above ground and not die of sun sickness – what an original premise for this new graphic novel written by the talented artist and author, Jonathan Case. I loved every part of it! From the amazing water-color painted graphics, to the wit and spunk of the main protagonist, ten-year old Elvie, to the heart-warming story that kept me on edge, this story is one I will not forget anytime soon. Elvie and her guardian, Flora, set off with a temporary supply of medicine made from safely taking a few small scales humanely from a butterfly’s wings. They are the only humans able to be above ground during the daylight hours and they follow the western migration of the monarchs across the Pacific Northwest and California. With kayaks on their van, they camp out along the way and Jonathon has placed the coordinates for all of the locations, which is brilliant. I would love to someday make a road-trip to all of the gorgeous places Elvie and Flora visit along the way in their quest. I won’t give away the story, but there is plenty of suspense, heartwarming drama and intrigue as they journey towards Mexico and you will love this story. I took a number of nights to savory the adventure, taking in the beautiful art and imagining the beauty of the places they visited, as the earth had regenerated over the fifty years since most of the mammals had been lost. From the first to the last page, you will love this story.

  4. 5 out of 5

    D.T. Henderson

    Love the post-apocalyptic world suffering from climate change(?) + the environmental message. Because of the fun worldbuilding, it kept the animal and environmental facts engaging. And the artwork was just lovely. I wanted to see more of this world.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Wow, a sci-fi epic with a hearty helping of the science aspect, made worlds more palatable for middle-grade audiences by presenting in graphic-novel form. Our appealing young heroine, Elvie, 10, is living at the dawn of the 21st century when global warming has made earth's sun so inhospitable that only a few thousand humans, nicknamed "deepers" for living solely in darkness deep underground--and no other land-living mammals--have survived. Elvie is the child of scientists studying monarch butter Wow, a sci-fi epic with a hearty helping of the science aspect, made worlds more palatable for middle-grade audiences by presenting in graphic-novel form. Our appealing young heroine, Elvie, 10, is living at the dawn of the 21st century when global warming has made earth's sun so inhospitable that only a few thousand humans, nicknamed "deepers" for living solely in darkness deep underground--and no other land-living mammals--have survived. Elvie is the child of scientists studying monarch butterflies for medicinal value in Mexico, but she has not seen her parents for most of her life, due to the crippling solar apocalypse that separated them. Her guardian, Flora, has labored for years developing a monarch butterfly-wing extract to provide reapplicable sun protection for the two of them (and whomever else they may unexpectedly encounter alive), and the two of them attempt to follow the insects' daunting migration path while Flora experiments to develop a vaccine from them to yield long-lasting sun protection for humans, but every desperate human they encounter is a potential rival or, worse, mortal enemy. Elvie and Flora play expertly off each other, wisecracking one minute and saving the other's life the next. Escaping death by nature, by machine, or by human becomes almost routine for the pair, and their encounters with an old lab colleague of Flora's and an orphaned toddler, among others, become life-changing. Un-put-downable adventure. . .with a healthy dose of scientific (and survival) knowledge.

  6. 4 out of 5

    New Bedford Free Public Library

    What's not to love about this new graphic novel? Beautiful illustrations, adventure, nature, science, and edge-of-your-seat storytelling from beginning to end. Written for a middle-grade audience, this book will nonetheless capture the heart of readers at all ages. Ten-year-old Evie and her caretaker, Flora, are the only two people who can live aboveground after a strange sun sickness has wiped out almost all mammal life on Earth. Together, they are determined to develop a vaccine to share with What's not to love about this new graphic novel? Beautiful illustrations, adventure, nature, science, and edge-of-your-seat storytelling from beginning to end. Written for a middle-grade audience, this book will nonetheless capture the heart of readers at all ages. Ten-year-old Evie and her caretaker, Flora, are the only two people who can live aboveground after a strange sun sickness has wiped out almost all mammal life on Earth. Together, they are determined to develop a vaccine to share with the few humans left currently surviving underground. They've already managed to create an antidote using scales from monarch butterfly wings. Can they find a way to save what's left? Join them as they follow the monarch migration patterns through the western US and find out!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michael Beil

    Such a wonderful, beautiful book! I was hooked on page one and finished it in one sitting. The artwork alone is worth the price, but the story is absolutely compelling. I will never look at monarch butterflies the same way again! A perfect read for the middle grader in your life.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shoshanna

    Really really good. A post apocalyptic, but semi hopeful comic about a chosen (or really, by circumstance) family of two as they try to survive in the land that used to be the United States, before the suns rays got more intense and almost all mammals died off. Flora and Elvie make medicine with help from monarch butterflies. You meet other survivors along the way. Sometimes scary, often sweet and hopeful. After all, it's just just people who only have each other to talk to, with remnants of the Really really good. A post apocalyptic, but semi hopeful comic about a chosen (or really, by circumstance) family of two as they try to survive in the land that used to be the United States, before the suns rays got more intense and almost all mammals died off. Flora and Elvie make medicine with help from monarch butterflies. You meet other survivors along the way. Sometimes scary, often sweet and hopeful. After all, it's just just people who only have each other to talk to, with remnants of the previous world. I think this book was written for kids but I recommend it at all ages. Definitely some shocking twists and turns!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Loren

    loved this book. great story, great graphics. ending is a little bla.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Book provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review On the Post-apocalyptic West Coast, a little girl named Evie and her guardian Flora are surviving on their own. A sun sickness has wiped out most of humanity including Evie’s parents. Together, they are determined to develop a sun sickness vaccine to share with the few humans left currently surviving underground.  The vaccines uses monarch butterfly wing extract and Evie and flora find themselves following the complicated butterfly migra Book provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review On the Post-apocalyptic West Coast, a little girl named Evie and her guardian Flora are surviving on their own. A sun sickness has wiped out most of humanity including Evie’s parents. Together, they are determined to develop a sun sickness vaccine to share with the few humans left currently surviving underground.  The vaccines uses monarch butterfly wing extract and Evie and flora find themselves following the complicated butterfly migration patterns. The two find themselves in danger often, whether it’s their van careening off the road or marauders trying to prevent them from completing their task. When they find a seemingly orphaned toddler, they take him under their wing which gets them into a precarious position with other humans trying to survive. Little Monarchs was truly a compelling and beautiful graphic novel. Set in the Oregon and California, there were spots I recognized and I loved that the author includes the lat/long coordinates just in case readers want to visit the setting of Little Monarchs. I loved the detailed facts about butterflies and that most of the characters are diverse. Little Monarchs has just the right amount of tension to make it an exciting novel and just enough butterfly information that prevents the book from being bogged down with boring facts. Note: There is discussion of death so heads up to those who have children who are sensitive to this topic. Add me on BookTok here: https://www.tiktok.com/@blissandbooks

  11. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    One of the best, and best illustrated, graphic novels I have read. In a post apocalyptic world, where solar changes disrupt mammalian heart rhythms, an oddly matched duo are humanity’s best hope of regaining the ability to live on the surface of the planet. The only humans to survive happened to be below ground at the time of the toxic shift. Evie’s grandparents and Flora’s parents were scientists in an underground lab. Old age, marauders and an effort to turn the groups’ breakthrough research i One of the best, and best illustrated, graphic novels I have read. In a post apocalyptic world, where solar changes disrupt mammalian heart rhythms, an oddly matched duo are humanity’s best hope of regaining the ability to live on the surface of the planet. The only humans to survive happened to be below ground at the time of the toxic shift. Evie’s grandparents and Flora’s parents were scientists in an underground lab. Old age, marauders and an effort to turn the groups’ breakthrough research into a vaccine have diminished and divided their group leaving only thirty-something, white, Flora and ten year-old, mixed race Evie to carry on the research into medicine based on the scales of monarch butterflies. Through the pages of Evie’s illustrated science journal and action packed panels, we learn that milkweed has long been used as medicine to regulate heart rhythms and follow the pair as they follow the monarch migration. Along the way the fractiously, loving pair face natural disasters, Flora’s terrible cooking, fellow refugees, accidents and the evil intentions of others. A must purchase.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jess Witkins

    Jam packed full of science, but shared with a great story. Little Monarchs presents a world where humans can no longer survive for long periods in direct sunlight. An abnormal sun poisoning has consumed most life and pushed those remaining humans underground into hiding. Following one naturalist, Flora, and the little girl she cares for, Elvie, the two have found a solution in the scales of monarch butterflies. The problem is it only lasts for so many hours and needs a constant resupply. Using a Jam packed full of science, but shared with a great story. Little Monarchs presents a world where humans can no longer survive for long periods in direct sunlight. An abnormal sun poisoning has consumed most life and pushed those remaining humans underground into hiding. Following one naturalist, Flora, and the little girl she cares for, Elvie, the two have found a solution in the scales of monarch butterflies. The problem is it only lasts for so many hours and needs a constant resupply. Using a mix of text and art, the story contains scenes from Elvie's nature journal, which are full of facts about wildlife, as well as action scenes from the story. It also discusses the work of finding a vaccine and all the trials that must take place first - what they watch for, how they test, how it gets distributed. And incorporated into the story are many challenges, natural and manmade, about how Flora and Elvie will survive, who they can trust, and how they'll start over again.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    So immersive! I read it all in one sitting. In the future, being in the sunlight messes up your heart and kills you. Everyone has to live underground. Flora has developed a medicine made from monarch butterfly scales that blocks the sun’s effects, but it only last for a short time. She travels around with 10-year-old Elvie, as she tries to develop a vaccine that will allow the pair to travel south to Mexico and reunite with Elvie’s parents. And also save the world. The artwork is beautiful. For a So immersive! I read it all in one sitting. In the future, being in the sunlight messes up your heart and kills you. Everyone has to live underground. Flora has developed a medicine made from monarch butterfly scales that blocks the sun’s effects, but it only last for a short time. She travels around with 10-year-old Elvie, as she tries to develop a vaccine that will allow the pair to travel south to Mexico and reunite with Elvie’s parents. And also save the world. The artwork is beautiful. For a graphic novel there is a LOT of text. Mostly in the form of Elvie’s journals explaining nature and science and their weird dystopian world. Definitely for older kids, as there’s death and violence and despair. It reminds me a bit of Alone, with so many things going wrong and leading to tragedy. A happy ending and Elvie’s age keep it just out of YA territory for me.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Potassium

    Really well done. Set in the future after the sun sickness has killed off the majority of mammals and the remaining humans are mostly hidden underground. Elvie and Flora are on a mission to create a vaccine that will let people come to the surface again. Yay Black kid as the protagonist! I love Elvie so much. So brave and so smart, and yet also such a kid. I also love the focus on the flora and fauna of the western U.S., though through Elvie’s eyes, it seems less like a biology lesson and more j Really well done. Set in the future after the sun sickness has killed off the majority of mammals and the remaining humans are mostly hidden underground. Elvie and Flora are on a mission to create a vaccine that will let people come to the surface again. Yay Black kid as the protagonist! I love Elvie so much. So brave and so smart, and yet also such a kid. I also love the focus on the flora and fauna of the western U.S., though through Elvie’s eyes, it seems less like a biology lesson and more just amazing. This is one that I think you could read over and over again and always get more out of it. Maybe I’ll start it again right now.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Schanze

    I picked this up because someone on Twitter said it was great and based on the cover I thought it was going to be a nice little summer camp story with butterflies. I was half-right; there are butterflies! The other part was completely wrong. It's not just nice, it's amazing. It has gorgeous art and an engrossing story about a post-apocalyptic but still kind of beautiful future. For a book "for kids" (I think?) it deals with some heavy content, but doesn't talk-down to the reader either. It caugh I picked this up because someone on Twitter said it was great and based on the cover I thought it was going to be a nice little summer camp story with butterflies. I was half-right; there are butterflies! The other part was completely wrong. It's not just nice, it's amazing. It has gorgeous art and an engrossing story about a post-apocalyptic but still kind of beautiful future. For a book "for kids" (I think?) it deals with some heavy content, but doesn't talk-down to the reader either. It caught me by surprise in the best way.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brandi Rae Fong

    I loved the concept of this, people trying to survive in a sort of a climate induced post-apocalyptic world. The inclusion of monarchs as a possible solution was interesting, and the travelogue format and art were strong. Where I struggled a bit was that the main character was 10, and the book initially starts with a general middle grade feel. But then the plot turns dark and despite the character's age and initial start, it suddenly would be a better book squarely for middle school/young teen (s I loved the concept of this, people trying to survive in a sort of a climate induced post-apocalyptic world. The inclusion of monarchs as a possible solution was interesting, and the travelogue format and art were strong. Where I struggled a bit was that the main character was 10, and the book initially starts with a general middle grade feel. But then the plot turns dark and despite the character's age and initial start, it suddenly would be a better book squarely for middle school/young teen (say grades 6-8 versus 4-6). A bit jarring, but still a strong title.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Oh my gosh I did not expect to love this book as much as I did! It's definitely a higher middle grade book with crossover teen appeal (it's kinda post-apocalyptical and death is referenced though it does happen off-screen) and it has a lot of fun sci-fi elements plus Elvie is a fantastic protagonist. I honestly hope that this becomes a series because I would definitely read it! *contains mentions of death* Oh my gosh I did not expect to love this book as much as I did! It's definitely a higher middle grade book with crossover teen appeal (it's kinda post-apocalyptical and death is referenced though it does happen off-screen) and it has a lot of fun sci-fi elements plus Elvie is a fantastic protagonist. I honestly hope that this becomes a series because I would definitely read it! *contains mentions of death*

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mary Ann

    Fabulous graphic novel! The apocalyptic story hooked me right from the beginning. I loved the way Elvie’s journal helped connect with how she was feeling and her point of view. The science was really interesting, and the setting in Oregon and Northern CA was really well done. Secondary characters were not very developed, but I suspect that was necessary to keep the plot moving swiftly. Highly recommended for grades 4-7.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Maia Foster-O'Neal

    A bleak, post-apocalyptic graphic novel rendered in vibrant watercolors, featuring a vivacious, headstrong 10-year-old named Elvie and her grumpy caretaker and field biologist Flora as they desperately search for a cure to the sunsickness that has wiped out practically all mammals on earth and forced the few thousand remaining humans underground. Part science fiction, part actual biology of the pacific northwest, this is a high stakes story full of catastrophes, betrayal, tenacity, and hope.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amanda [Novel Addiction]

    Wow, this was.... Powerful. And also, that much more interesting since I recently read Monarca, which gave me a better understanding of the migration cycle of Monarch butterflies. We have this graphic novel in our juvenile section, but I'd definitely recommend it to older middle grade readers. There's a lot in here, including some character deaths and tough situations. But it's worth it. That ending! Wow, this was.... Powerful. And also, that much more interesting since I recently read Monarca, which gave me a better understanding of the migration cycle of Monarch butterflies. We have this graphic novel in our juvenile section, but I'd definitely recommend it to older middle grade readers. There's a lot in here, including some character deaths and tough situations. But it's worth it. That ending!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Patti Sabik

    Interesting and sometimes creepy look into the practice of genetically modifying animals or trying to resurrect extinct populations. Engaging text makes this book very readable. The author does not preach or use complex technical jargon. Instead the reader is asked to ponder and debate the ethics behind each experiment and try to determine the best way to proceed forwards with regards to laws and policies.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Poitras

    Excellent adventure story about a young adolescent girl and her caretaker who follow the migratory pattern of monarch butterflies on a far flung search for a cure to a deadly sun sickness. Clever incorporation of science learning without feeling like a biology lesson. Interesting look at social dynamics as characters navigate a post apocalyptic world.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andréa

    Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Elise

    Reviewed for School Library Journal

  25. 4 out of 5

    Leanne Ellis

    3 and a half stars. Cool overall concept with lots of real-world survival and science.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Esther Clark

    A beautifully executed graphic novel with a really cool premise. I’m a teacher-librarian and I highly recommend this one.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lance

    Little Monarchs is an amazing book. Jonathan Case is a very talented artist. This is well worth reading.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stella

    AMAZING! So many surprises and concept is so cool-one of the only 2 people who can walk on earth in daytime.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Leonard Kim

    I think this will appeal most to fans of world-building and travels therein. In that respect, it works almost like a fantasy novel despite being sci-fi.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Aurora

    Made it 3 chapters in. Hadn’t realized it was a post-apocalypse story before I started it; tried to push through but I don’t think I can handle it.

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