Tuesday, June 15, 2010

God Save the Queen

Loree Griffin Burns has done it again. She has combined cool science facts, a page turning detective mystery and a behind the scenes look at bee collectors into one darn beautifully illustrated book.  The Hive Detectives follows four leading bee scientists from lab to field to trace the mysterious causes of CCD (colony collapse disorder). Possible causes include some blood-sucking mites giving the poor bees the runs, some nasty honey bee viruses, and environmental causes like pesticides and herbicides.  The reader is allowed to weigh all the facts and come to their own conclusions.  (My vote is for the last one. I am convinced pesticides are the cause of my writers block.)

Kids will also come away with tons of bee facts like the roles of the worker bees, the drone bee and the queen bee. The worker bee is the multi-tasking super mom that maintains the hive, makes honey, nurses the young, get the nectar, drives them to soccer practice etc. etc. The drone bee is the male bee that sits around and mates with the queen, but does absolutely nothing to maintain the colony. (And yes, it is taking an amazing amount of willpower not to make a snarky comment) And the queen bee's sole purpose is not very different from history's most famous royal queens - to lay eggs.

Kids will also learn what happens to a worker bee when they sting you. I can't give it away, but it kind of made me feel bad for the bee. Definitely get this one for your budding scientist/ bee sympathizer.

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