Monday, May 17, 2010

Non-Fiction Monday: The Hive Detectives

I am now in love with honey bees. Well, not really, but I am just completely fascinated with them. These insects have a complete society, with a hierarchy, building plans, and social network that easily rivals anything I've ever seen before. SO cool!

The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe by Loree Griffin Burns and photographer Ellen Harasimowicz is part of the amazing "Scientists in the Field" series. If you have yet to pick up a book in this series, you must run out to the library now and grab them. Such fantastic information with brilliant photographs.

In this installment, readers are first given a glimpse into a working beehive and what it's like to be a beekeeper. We learn about supplies, including thick gloves, clothing, and the ever-important smoke machine, that are necessary before heading in to tend to the honey bees and their product.

We then move along to Dave Hackenburg and his missing bees. Over 20 million of his honey bees just vanished in 2006, sparking the news stories about missing honey bees all over the place...a huge problem which is continuing today.

Throughout the course of the book, readers get to meet different beekeepers and bee scientists all over the country, all committed to finding out what is causing colony collapse disorder among honey bees. Some are simply trying to make their living bottling honey and others are in it for the scientific angle. All are incredibly intriguing.

Readers learn about the actual bees making the honey, the process of making honey once the bees do their part, possible enemies of the bee, all while viewing beautiful photography by Loree Griffin Burns. A mystery of sorts, that the reader is able to follow along with and continue researching after they finish with this book.

Overall rating: 5 out of 5
Middle grade teachers can use this in a unit on bees or honey, or move a bit outside of the box and use it for an environmental catastrophe unit. Children may not see bees as vital to our environment, but this book definitely will open some eyes and allow kids to see how very important they are.

The Hive Detectives: Chronicles of a Honey Bee Catastrophe
Loree Griffin Burns
80 pages
Non-Fiction
Houghton-Mifflin
9780547152318
May 2010
Review copy received from publisher



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4 comments:

Charlotte said...

I love bees, and am going to have some one day....I should read this book.

Have you ever read Clan Apis? It's a graphic novel about a bee, and made me cry like a baby....

Jeane said...

It sounds fascinating. I've heard about the disappearing bees, but didn't know it was still a mystery, the cause. Are bees really considered not important in the environment? what about all the pollination they do?

Amanda said...

Charlotte, I haven't read that book, but I'll add it to the ever-growing list.

Jeane, thanks for bringing that up. I didn't word that correctly...bees are DEFINITELY vital to the environment! I meant to write "children may not see bees as vital to the environment." I'm going to revise now...

Mama Librarian said...

Clan Apis rocks. =)

I just read Chalice, a fantasy by Robin McKinley. It wasn't one of her strongest, but the main character is a beekeeper and the whole story is all about bees.