Let’s be honest. If I walked by The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children 2010) in the library, I would probably have kept on walking without giving it a second glance. Honeybees? What would I want to know about them?
I am so glad Loree Griffin Burns’ nonfiction title is on this year’s Young Hoosier Books list for middle school. Because I read all twenty books each year, I picked this one up and read it. Wow! I was blown away by how much I didn’t know about honey bees and by how fascinating they are.
Reading The Hive Detectives is like having Loree Burns sit down with you to excitedly share all the cool things she has learned about honey bees. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around some of what I learned (and I thought I knew something about bees since my dad was a hobbyist beekeeper during much of my childhood). Do you know how bees make honey? If you like to eat honey, you may not want to know. I’d heard about colony collapse disorder, but Burns bought the crisis to life with the stories of beekeepers and scientists working together to identify the cause and find a solution. I don’t even want to imagine our world without bees.
Just as I enjoyed reading the text, I was amazed by the photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz. I’ve never see a bee so close up, much less the inside of a beehive with its intricate lace of honeycomb. I find myself going back through the book just to savor the pictures again.
I may not bee ready to keep a hive of bees in my backyard (they are a lot of work), but I will certainly appreciate the work of bees the next time I enjoy honey or the fruits and vegetables that grow thanks to the hard work of bees.