Posts tagged ‘non fiction’

THE BUZZ ON BEES

A, Bee, See: Who are our Pollinators and Why are They in Trouble?

Written by Kenneth Eade

Photographs by Valentine Eade

A,Bee,Seepic

The author decided to write a children’s edition of his adult book. You might expect it to be written by a biologist, but Kenneth Eade is a lawyer with the vision to look ahead toward environmental responsibility. He begins by explaining the interdependence of plants and animals and then introduces the bee as our most important pollinator. Bees have been at work for more than one hundred million years. There are thousands of kinds of bees, but Eade concentrates on the most common types like the honey bee and the bumblebee, and how they accomplish their work. Most of us are aware of the bees work, but are less familiar with the fact that moths and bats pollinate plants at night. Did you know that bats pollinate three hundred kinds of fruit and cacti?

The reader will learn how the honeybee colony is organized into queen bee, workers and drones. Did you know that honeybees have five eyes that help them navigate with light, color and direction? For years I have been telling children to stand still when any type of bee flies near them. I felt vindicated that this is the right action. What I found really interesting is that worker bees have two stomachs, one for eating and one for storing the nectar they gather, They even have tiny bags on their hind legs for carrying the pollen to the hive. I was never aware of the processing bee that puts nectar into a honeycomb cell nor that she adds an enzyme that allows it to ripen and dry into honey. Such a perfect food for the bees which lasts for years and provides nutrition for humans as well.

Bees are endangered now because excessive land clearing depletes home-sites for bees as well as other animals. At the same time the wildflowers are disappearing. Many farmers treat their crops with pesticides that kill bees. Children can help by urging their parents to plant wildflowers in their gardens and writing to government representatives to make them aware of environmental concerns.

This book contains beautiful photographs and is well written. It belongs on the shelves of every elementary classroom. Younger children can learn a lot about plants, animals and the environment by using this book as a reference. Older children might use it as a starting point for more advanced study. This book is enlightening and informative for all ages.

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SAILING THE SEVEN SEAS

SAILING THE SEVEN SEAS

The Illustrated Life of Blackbeard

by: Charles River Editions

Blackbeardpiccover

This book is part of  History For Kids series aimed at children in the middle grades. As is the case with other books in the series there are engravings, drawings and paintings. There are no maps of the voyages which would have been helpful. The editors attempt to separate the facts from the myth which is difficult to do because of the paucity of information.

Chapter One begins by telling us Blackbeard’s real name, Edward Teach, and how he might have been born in either Jamaica or Bristol, England around 1680. Teach learned how to become a sailor by serving in the British Navy during Queen Anne’s War. He attacked French ships and soon discovered how  to become a pirate. Later when the war was over, he moved to the island of New Providence on the Atlantic Ocean and worked for the pirate leader, Benjamin Hornigold. Together they attacked Spanish and Portuguese ships for  bounty of wine and flour. They then met a pirate named Stede Bonet who allowed Teach to captain a ship called the Revenge. These two men later broke with Hornigold because he would not attack the British. When the pirates captured a French slave ship that had 40 cannons, Teach assumed command of 150 pirates. Shortly after they attacked a ship named Margaret, its captain, Henry Bostock,  told the governor about Teach describing his long black beard. That is how he got the name, Blackbeard.

Legends about Teach continued to grow and by 1718, the British Royal Navy actively hunted him. Blackbeard feigned repentance and asked for the governor’s protection. His ship ran aground; but many think he wanted to sink his ship to split up the pirates and keep more treasure for himself. Blackbeard did not give up being a pirate as he had promised. He sailed up and down the Atlantic coast searching for ships to plunder. The governor of Virginia, Robert Maynard, chased him up and down the coastal seas. Would Blackbeard finally be caught or would he continue to plunder?

This book is not as well written as the others in this series. At times it appears as if the writers are stringing together information rather than telling a life story. The book does its job in introducing students to the real Edward Teach.

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