WHAT'S THE BUZZ?

KEEPING BEES IN FLIGHT

From the Orca Footprints series

As comprehensive an introduction as can be found in 48 pages.

Author and hobbyist beekeeper Wilcox presents a cheery introduction to honeybees and their wild cousins.

Wilcox covers a lot of territory in a brief book, notably including quite a lot of information about bumblebees and other undomesticated bees as well as a healthy helping of facts about honeybees. From an overview that distinguishes between bees and wasps and then among types of bees and a bit of honeybee history, Wilcox moves on to bees as pollinators, both those used in commercial agriculture and specialist bees that focus on just certain types of blossoms, such as the squash bee. She covers bee behavior and roles, swarming, and what beekeepers do before moving on to cover threats to bees such as neonicotinoids and the varroa mite. The text is broken into brief chapters, which are then broken into short sections, and the design includes both bright, mostly stock photographs and sidebars. Specialized vocabulary (“nectar,” “industrial agriculture,” etc.) is italicized within the text and defined in a closing glossary. The resource list includes only two books, both aimed at adults, but the list of websites includes several that are kid-friendly. Wilcox’s tone is upbeat, and though her use of the exclamation mark is perhaps overdone, her enthusiasm for her subject is both genuine and infectious.

As comprehensive an introduction as can be found in 48 pages. (index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4598-0960-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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THE WILD ROBOT PROTECTS

From the Wild Robot series , Vol. 3

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant.

Robot Roz undertakes an unusual ocean journey to save her adopted island home in this third series entry.

When a poison tide flowing across the ocean threatens their island, Roz works with the resident creatures to ensure that they will have clean water, but the destruction of vegetation and crowding of habitats jeopardize everyone’s survival. Brown’s tale of environmental depredation and turmoil is by turns poignant, graceful, endearing, and inspiring, with his (mostly) gentle robot protagonist at its heart. Though Roz is different from the creatures she lives with or encounters—including her son, Brightbill the goose, and his new mate, Glimmerwing—she makes connections through her versatile communication abilities and her desire to understand and help others. When Roz accidentally discovers that the replacement body given to her by Dr. Molovo is waterproof, she sets out to seek help and discovers the human-engineered source of the toxic tide. Brown’s rich descriptions of undersea landscapes, entertaining conversations between Roz and wild creatures, and concise yet powerful explanations of the effect of the poison tide on the ecology of the island are superb. Simple, spare illustrations offer just enough glimpses of Roz and her surroundings to spark the imagination. The climactic confrontation pits oceangoing mammals, seabirds, fish, and even zooplankton against hardware and technology in a nicely choreographed battle. But it is Roz’s heroism and peacemaking that save the day.

Hugely entertaining, timely, and triumphant. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9780316669412

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN

From the One and Only series , Vol. 1

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new...

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How Ivan confronts his harrowing past yet stays true to his nature exemplifies everything youngsters need to know about courage.

Living in a "domain" of glass, metal and cement at the Big Top Mall, Ivan sometimes forgets whether to act like a gorilla or a human—except Ivan does not think much of humans. He describes their behavior as frantic, whereas he is a peaceful artist. Fittingly, Ivan narrates his tale in short, image-rich sentences and acute, sometimes humorous, observations that are all the more heartbreaking for their simple delivery. His sorrow is palpable, but he stoically endures the cruelty of humans until Ruby the baby elephant is abused. In a pivotal scene, Ivan finally admits his domain is a cage, and rather than let Ruby live and die in grim circumstances, he promises to save her. In order to express his plea in a painting, Ivan must bravely face buried memories of the lush jungle, his family and their brutal murder, which is recounted in a brief, powerful chapter sure to arouse readers’ passions. In a compelling ending, the more challenging question Applegate poses is whether or not Ivan will remember what it was like to be a gorilla. Spot art captures poignant moments throughout.

Utterly believable, this bittersweet story, complete with an author’s note identifying the real Ivan, will inspire a new generation of advocates. (author’s note) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-199225-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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