BUGS IN DANGER

OUR VANISHING BEES, BUTTERFLIES, AND BEETLES

“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. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0085-4

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue...

TRAILBLAZERS

33 WOMEN IN SCIENCE WHO CHANGED THE WORLD

With STEM now the hot trend in education and concerted efforts to encourage girls to explore scientific fields, this collective biography is most timely.

Swaby offers 33 brief profiles of some of the world’s most influential women in science, organized in loose groupings: technology and innovation, earth and stars, health and medicine, and biology. Some of the figures, such as Mary Anning, Rachel Carson, Florence Nightingale, Sally Ride, and Marie Tharp, have been written about for young readers, but most have not. Among the lesser known are Stephanie Kwolek, the American chemist who invented Kevlar; Yvonne Brill, the Canadian engineer who invented a thruster used in satellites; Elsie Widdowson, the British nutritionist who demonstrated how important fluid and salt are for the body to properly function; and Italian neuroembryologist Rita Levi-Montalcini, who made breakthrough discoveries in nerve-cell growth. Swaby emphasizes that most of these scientists had to overcome great obstacles before achieving their successes and receiving recognition due to gender-based discrimination. She also notes that people are not born brilliant scientists and that it’s through repeated observation, experimentation, and testing of ideas that important discoveries are made.

An interesting, engaging collection of snapshot profiles that will encourage readers to explore further and perhaps pursue their own scientific curiosities. (source notes, bibliography) (Collective biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-55396-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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An important perspective on our changing climate.

MELTDOWN

DISCOVER EARTH'S IRREPLACEABLE GLACIERS AND LEARN WHAT YOU CAN DO TO SAVE THEM

Glaciers on this planet are vanishing—learn how we know, why we should care, and what we can do.

The author of Itch (2018) and Rotten (2019), both illustrated by Gilbert Ford, turns her attention to another underappreciated part of the natural world: glaciers. With a foreword by glaciologist Jill Pelto and an introduction laying out the problem, Sanchez prepares her readers for the cold hard truth to come. Chapter by chapter, she explains the important roles glaciers play in our world, how we know they are melting, and why that’s happening—clearly explaining climate change. She shows how ice cores reveal climate history, introduces animals and plants that thrive in glacier country, and describes what the future might bring. Sanchez concludes with suggestions for action, personal and communal. At several points, she brings in Indigenous points of view. The author addresses readers directly with compelling evidence for her thesis that this is yet another manifestation of climate change that will wreak havoc on the world we know. Unfamiliar words are bolded and defined in context as well as in a glossary. Encouraging readers to take action, Sanchez includes in the backmatter a long list of science specialties concerned with glaciers. There are occasional photographs, helpful diagrams, and artistic depictions of glacial scenes throughout, breaking up the text and adding appeal; people depicted in Padula’s illustrations are diverse.

An important perspective on our changing climate. (author’s note, additional resources, select bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5235-0950-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022

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