Adios Oscar! A Butterfly Fable by Peter Elwell

Anytime I see a new monarch butterfly book I get excited, so when I received a review copy of Adios, Oscar!: A Butterfly Fable from Scholastic, I was very happy. Even better? This isn’t your typical monarch migration story. It’s a new twist on the topic and it is great!

Oscar is a caterpillar who lives on a plant near a window. One day a monarch butterfly named Bob happens upon his plant. Bob is in an awful rush and tells Oscar to look him up when he gets to Mexico someday. Well, Oscar is just enamored with Bob, his gorgeous orange-and-black wings, and this talk of Mexico. When a bookworm named Edna decides to help Oscar learn about Mexico in preparation for his journey, he is ecstatic. Soon it is time for him to go into his pupa phase before emerging as a butterfly.

Or so he thinks.

Oscar is heartbroken when he emerges from his cocoon and discovers he has short grey wings instead of the gorgeous orange-and-black ones he anticipated. And instead of the urge to fly to Mexico, he has the urge to eat sweaters! And fly around a light! Oscar’s friends all mock him for the time he spent learning Spanish and Mexican culture, and he is heartbroken. But that all changes when he finds a note Edna left behind for him.

I loved this fable about a moth who believes he can do anything, even fly 2000 miles to Mexico. And Elwell sprinkles Spanish phrases throughout the book. He also includes an afterword with some information on monarchs and moths and the differences between the two. The illustrations are also adorable, in a great cartoon style. I can’t wait to share this with my class and the Monarch Teacher Network!

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2 Responses

  1. I’d like to thank you for the nice, insightful review of my book, “Adios Oscar”. Your being a 6th grade teacher made it especially fortuitous, because the book’s dedication is to Mrs. Ard, my 6th grade teacher.

    I have no idea if she’d remember me or if she’s even alive, but as I look back, I’ve seen what a tremendous difference she made in my life and I owe her a heck of a lot more than a dedication in a book. I probably owe her my life – I most definitely owe her the better aspects of it. (yes, there’s a tale to tell which I’d be more than happy to share with you as a teacher – and I’d share it with your students, too – especially if you have any who are in a weird place and having a rough time. If you’re interested, it might be interesting. I think Mrs. Ard would approve).

    And a tidbit that might prove interesting to you as a writer and perhaps to any of the young writers you’re teaching: the bookworm in the story got her name from Edna St. Vincent Millay, who lived on the same street I live on now in NYC – which is the street the butterfly was flying down that gave me the idea for the story in the first place.

    But back to the point of this note; thank you again for the review and thank you for being a teacher. I am,
    Your Most Obedient,
    Peter Elwell

  2. Just want to say thank you Mr. Elwell. My Mother Is Mine was dedicated to my son and I have been following books ever since.

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