Accessible and concise, this volume teaches an important topic responsibly without being dry.

WHERE HAVE ALL THE BEES GONE?

POLLINATORS IN CRISIS

This slim volume details what scientists know about the long history and potential future of an important pollinator.

Hirsch (Garfield's Almost-as-Great-as-Doughnuts Guide to Math, 2019, etc.) opens the book with a narrative about Robbin Thorp, an entomologist who, in the 1990s, began monitoring habitats in Oregon and California for the now-vanished Franklin’s bumblebee. From this specific, vivid scene, the text zooms out: Chapter 2 discusses how bees likely evolved, and Chapter 3 lists other pollinators and describes several kinds of pollination. The remaining chapters cover topics including the physical structure of bees, the pesticides that kill them, and some efforts being made to ensure bees’ survival. The book ends on a hopeful note, with suggestions for things readers can do to help bees. Chapters are illustrated with color photographs and diagrams, and some include sidebars or entire pages’ worth of inserts about things like assisted reproduction. Details about scientists’ work will intrigue some readers, but the episodic stories become a bit difficult to track toward the end. Hirsch’s main point—that bees are pollinators who deserve our respect and protection for their role in growing the food we eat and feed to domestic animals—is woven throughout the text.

Accessible and concise, this volume teaches an important topic responsibly without being dry. (author’s note, glossary, source notes, selected bibliography, further information, index, photo credits) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-3463-6

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A concise companion and update to Vicki Oransky Wittenstein’s Planet Hunter (2010).

EXOPLANETS

WORLDS BEYOND OUR SOLAR SYSTEM

An enticing overview of tools, techniques, and discoveries in what the author rightly characterizes “a red-hot field in astronomy.”

Alas; it is perhaps too red-hot. Not only is Kenney’s count of accepted and potential exoplanets (as of May 2016) well out of date already, but her claim that “Wolf-1061” (sic: that’s actually the name of the star and its system) is the nearest Earthlike planet in the habitable “Goldilocks Zone” has been trumped by the recent discovery of a closer candidate orbiting Proxima Centauri. Still, along with describing in nontechnical terms each tool in the researcher’s kit—from space- and ground-based telescopes of various types to instruments that detect subtle stellar wobbles, spectrum changes, microlensing, and other telling signs—the author fills in the historical background of exoplanet research and profiles some of its weirder findings. She also casts side glances at extremophile life on Earth and other, at least tangentially related, topics. The small format gives the assortment of photos, artists’ renditions, diagrams, and generic star fields a cramped look, but readers curious about how researchers could possibly detect such dinky, distant objects as planets belonging to other star systems will come away satisfied and intrigued.

A concise companion and update to Vicki Oransky Wittenstein’s Planet Hunter (2010). (index, source notes, bibliography, websites) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-0086-1

Page Count: 92

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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ENDANGERED

From the Ape Quartet series , Vol. 1

Congolese-American Sophie makes a harrowing trek through a war-torn jungle to protect a young bonobo.

On her way to spend the summer at the bonobo sanctuary her mother runs, 14-year-old Sophie rescues a sickly baby bonobo from a trafficker. Though her Congolese mother is not pleased Sophie paid for the ape, she is proud that Sophie works to bond with Otto, the baby. A week before Sophie's to return home to her father in Miami, her mother must take advantage
of a charter flight to relocate some apes, and she leaves Sophie with Otto and the sanctuary workers. War breaks out, and after missing a U.N. flight out, Sophie must hide herself and Otto from violent militants and starving villagers. Unable to take Otto out of the country, she decides finding her mother hundreds of miles to the north is her only choice. Schrefer jumps from his usual teen suspense to craft this well-researched tale of jungle survival set during a fictional conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Realistic characters (ape and human) deal with disturbing situations described in graphic, but never gratuitous detail. The lessons Sophie learns about her childhood home, love and what it means to be endangered will resonate with readers.

Even if some hairbreadth escapes test credulity, this is a great next read for fans of our nearest ape cousins or survival adventure. (map, author's note, author Q&A) (Adventure. 12-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-16576-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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