Scientific Buzz

The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe
By Loree Griffin Burns
Photography by Ellen Harasimowicz
(Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, New York, 2010, $18)

Part of Houghton Mifflin’s Scientists in the Field series, The Hive Detectives introduces children to bees and the people who study them. Author Loree Griffin Burns and photographer Ellen Harasmowicz visit a backyard beekeeper, a large-scale honey producer, and various bee researchers. Along the way, they – and readers – learn about Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a mysterious phenomenon that has puzzled scientists, killed countless hives, and threatened crops and ecosystems worldwide since 2006. They follow entomologists into the field, where they collect bees, and into the laboratory, where they dissect them to find the disorder’s cause. Readers also see honey harvested; stunning close-ups even allow them to glimpse the social insects interacting inside their hives.

With clear prose and vivid photography, The Hive Detectives captures both the excitement of scientific research and the bees’ wonders. A special appendix lists miscellaneous fascinating facts about bees that Burns uncovered while researching the book. She also encourages readers to learn more about bees and to plant bee-friendly flowers. Thus, Burns not only educates kids about the insects’ plight; she includes them in the bees’ recovery.

Dorothy A. Dahm

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