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

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. 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019


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. 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012



Attractively designed and handsomely illustrated, this informative text introduces teens to many intriguing angles on a...

Will the world end in a bang or a whimper? Unless pre-empted by human-induced disaster or one of many scientifically possible catastrophic scenarios, life on Earth will end a billion years from now in a sizzle.

Predicting the end of the world is an old story, argues the author, presenting evidence in brief surveys of eschatologies from the world's major religions and mythologies of ancient civilizations. Miller also notes how end-of-world scenarios have captured humanity's imagination in their frequent appearances in science-fiction novels and motion pictures. (Disappointingly, the reasons for this ongoing fascination are not explored.) A chapter about imminent predictions for 2012 explains the Mayan prophecy and a theory about a phantom planet called Nibiru crashing into Earth. Another chapter examines pseudoscientific end-of-world theories such as planetary alignment and pole shifts. The primary focus is on scientifically plausible scenarios: self-destruction through nuclear war or continued environmental exploitation; humanity wiped out by a pandemic; an asteroid or comet strike destroying Earth.

Attractively designed and handsomely illustrated, this informative text introduces teens to many intriguing angles on a high-interest topic that should inspire many to further explore the subject.   (chronology, glossary, bibliography, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7613-7396-4

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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