IF BEES DISAPPEARED

From the If Animals Disappeared series

Learn about the importance of keystone species in this buzzworthy book.

Honeybees are an important species—but how many people know just how important? Readers will after reading this bee-dazzling book that explains their essential role in the food chain. Three beekeepers (a White adult and two children, one Black and one White) are inspecting their beehives and discover a potential case of colony collapse disorder, a relatively new phenomenon in which an entire colony of bees dies off quickly. The book then delves into the logical events that would follow if all honeybee colonies collapsed, showing how many species—plant and animal, including humans—would be adversely affected. Each double-page spread presents one or two small paragraphs explaining the links in the chain of consequences in moderately simple language. The text is supported by lush cartoon illustrations that will pull in readers with each new page. The book ends with a brief glossary, suggestions for starting honeybee-related conversations at home and with friends, and a full-page bibliography for readers who have been stung with curiosity. It’s a fun and engaging read for nonfiction fans and will also pull double duty during science project festivals, as the resources and information will be invaluable for projects on ecology, animal husbandry, or food webs. An added bonus for beekeepers is that all three humans are observing sensible beekeeping practices as they work. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Sweet as honey. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-23245-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

1001 BEES

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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A quick flight but a blast from first to last.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SPACE AND OTHER GALACTIC FACTS!

From the Everything Awesome About… series

A charged-up roundup of astro-facts.

Having previously explored everything awesome about both dinosaurs (2019) and sharks (2020), Lowery now heads out along a well-traveled route, taking readers from the Big Bang through a planet-by-planet tour of the solar system and then through a selection of space-exploration highlights. The survey isn’t unique, but Lowery does pour on the gosh-wow by filling each hand-lettered, poster-style spread with emphatic colors and graphics. He also goes for the awesome in his selection of facts—so that readers get nothing about Newton’s laws of motion, for instance, but will come away knowing that just 65 years separate the Wright brothers’ flight and the first moon landing. They’ll also learn that space is silent but smells like burned steak (according to astronaut Chris Hadfield), that thanks to microgravity no one snores on the International Space Station, and that Buzz Aldrin was the first man on the moon…to use the bathroom. And, along with a set of forgettable space jokes (OK, one: “Why did the carnivore eat the shooting star?” “Because it was meteor”), the backmatter features drawing instructions for budding space artists and a short but choice reading list. Nods to Katherine Johnson and NASA’s other African American “computers” as well as astronomer Vera Rubin give women a solid presence in the otherwise male and largely White cast of humans. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A quick flight but a blast from first to last. (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-35974-9

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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