Monday, July 19, 2010

The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe

by Loree Griffin Burns and Ellen Harasimowicz (photographer)
Houghton Mifflin, 2010. 80 pgs. Nonfiction.

Burns' fascinating new book (in the Scientists in the Field series) is all over the apiary, as it were. Beginning with the story of a backyard beekeeper (Mary Duane) who singlehandedly cares for her bees and gathers their honey, Burns then moves to Dave Hackenburg's industrial operation where, in 2006, Colony Collapse Disorder was first discovered. When tens of thousands of Dave's bees simply disappeared he quickly alerted biologists and other beekeepers. Many reports of similar losses followed and Burns then takes up the story of the scientists who are trying to discover the cause(s) of this frightening threat to the world's bees and food supply. Equal parts bee culture and scientific puzzle, The Hive Detectives should appeal to a wide range of kids and their parents. (Be aware that the hunt for what is killing the bees requires that bees be killed, ground up, pulled apart, etc., if you have an especially tender-hearted nature lover in the house.)

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