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)