BUGS IN DANGER by Mark Kurlansky


Our Vanishing Bees, Butterflies, and Beetles
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 10 - 14
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“The disappearance of a few prominent insects could lead to the complete unraveling of life on Earth.”

This is only one of the dire warnings that punctuate several chapters in a text that is accessible, informational, and often humorous. Using Darwin’s theories and the assumption that every species must prioritize its own promulgation or perish, the author suggests, among other things, that humans may have created their own decline by emphasizing individual life choices over species survival. He emphasizes biodiversity as the key to preserving life as we know it, employing the historical decline of ladybugs, bees, butterflies, and fireflies to fuel that argument. The text—original for young readers and not adapted from a book for adults—has fascinating details, both historical and biological, but sometimes omits expected depth. After pages devoted to monarchs, it does not mention the fact that the migration spans generations. After a lengthy discussion of colony collapse disorder, only one paragraph mentions the fact that, apparently, no organic beekeepers have experienced it. Another example is the lackluster list in the “What Can I Do?” chapter, which does not match the urgency of sentences such as the one quoted above. Indeed, the first idea on the list is a condescending plea not to stomp on insects. As an entomological reference book or to start conversations about biodiversity or climate change, the book is solid; it is not advisable as a single source. Happily, there is an extensive bibliography.

A conversation starter. (endnotes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 12th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-5476-0085-4
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2019


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