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T h e   P r i n c e  o f   B u t t e r f l i e s   R e v i e w s

Kirkus Reviews - March 1st, 2002
The prolific, multitalented Coville (Half-human, 2001, etc.) takes off in a different direction with this unusual story of a boy who bonds with a migrating flock of monarch butterflies, emphasizing so strongly with their plight of diminishing habitat that he actually briefly becomes one of them.  The boy, John Farrington, leads the butterflies to a new habitat, and repeats his unusual transformation (from boy to butterfly and back again) several times until he leaves for college to become an entomologist.  Farrington, presumably a historical figure, becomes a butterfly researcher (though he can't bear to collect specimens) and was instrumental in the successful passage of the "Butterfly Road" bill in Congress, helping to preserve monarchs as a species.  The rather long story concludes with Farrington as an elderly wheelchair-bound man, visited by a swarm of monarchs who carry him away in one final transforming moment.  Clapp (Right Here on This Spot, 1999, etc.) provides magical misty watercolor illustrations that turn a rather unbelievable story into a meaningful fairy tale with an ecological message and a comforting, metaphorical view of life after death. Some will find this story lightweight and sentimental; others will see the trajectory of meaning inherent in a committed life.  (Picture book. 6-9)

Normally, I don't comment on these reviews, but just a note for the reader here: "Farrington, presumably a historical figure"---was not---The Prince of Butterflies is a work of fiction. Though as a trivia aside, "John Farrington" was actually the birth name of Bruce's father, and a flock of butterflies did land on Bruce's house the day after his 11th birthday. 
As far as I know, Bruce never turned into a butterfly or became a lepidopterist.