Monday, January 02, 2012

A Sweet New Year and Nonfiction Monday

Burns, Loree Griffin. The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe.
In 2006, Dave Hackenburg discovered that 400 of his honey bee hives were just empty. Unable to figure out a cause for this on his own, he consulted a top notch team of bee researcher, who found that bees were in crisis all around the world. Burns takes this event and gives great background on how beekeepers care for hives, how honey is made and processed, and how research continues to try to stop further damage to the honey bee population. Complete with photographs, explanations of terms, and resources for further research, this is
Weaknesses: This is a small thing, but the book is wider than it is tall, and for some weird reason, middle graders think this makes books look like “baby books”. a fascinating addition to the Scientists in the Field series by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Strengths: Just the right length for the casual
reader, and the factual information is broken up with the story of the mystery of what is happening with the bees, which kept me interested and reading until the end.

Buchman, Stephen. Honey Bees: Letter from the Hive: A History of Bees and Honey.
In this briefer version of the adult title, Buchman covers more fully the information presented about beekeeping, hive activity, and honey in general. This is more prose oriented, with fewer pictures but a lot more information. For example, different types of honey are addressed at length, leaving me with a craving to try cranberry honey and avocado honey! There is an extensive bibliography as well as a list of suppliers.
Strengths: This would be a great resource is someone were doing an in depth report on honey.
Weaknesses: The small black and white pictures, as well as the lengthy prose, make this a bit of a hard sell for the casual reader.

There's a new Nonfiction Monday page by Ms. Suen, and today's roundup is hosted at The Nonfiction Detectives.

Middle Grade Monday can be found at Shannon Whitney Messenger's blog, and she's hosting as well. Lots of good stuff to be had there always, so hop over!


  1. Anonymous9:38 AM EST

    Hey! Added you to the MMGM list and glad your signing up for the read-a-thon, too.

    Thanks for the non-fcition reviews. Goal list year is to read much much more than what I do. I have BLIZZARD OF GLASS (arc) to start me off.

    Happy New Year to you and your students!

  2. Thanks for the reviews! My husband used to keep bees so I know a little bit about them.

    We carry The Hive Detectives in the bookstore, but I've never seen the second book. I know what you mean about the format turning kids off because it looks like a "baby book." And I don't think it's a small thing at all to middle school kids.

  3. Yeah and the "you can't read that it's a picture book" parents don't help!!

  4. Fascinating stuff! Thanks for the tips :)

  5. I haven't read much about bees - so these books seem like a good way to begin. I am glad to note that my ten year old (while still not technically a middle grader) remains enamoured with picture books. Perhaps it helps that I, myself, am absolutely obsessed with picture books - but I do agree that other kids seem to think that it's too juvenile for them.

  6. Yup, I agree about the wide format nonfiction books. Which is a real shame because the Scientists in the Field books are great for middle grade readers. And a lot of middle grade nonfiction books are formatted that way. Sigh.

  7. I LOVE Hive Detectives! It's so well researched and written. And, the photographs are fantastic. The second book is new to me. I plan to check that out.

    Perhaps you'd enjoy some photos of baby bees in my hive. Here's the link: