Loree Griffen Burns (author) and Ellen Harasimowisc (photographer) did a great job presenting the mystery of the colony collapse disorder facing bees and their keepers in Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe, a Cybils Nonfiction (Middle Grade and Young Adult) finalist. Cara Llewellyn gets credit for joining the text and pictures, and she almost deserves a mention on the front cover -- each page draws you into the world of bees, their keepers, and the scientists who study them. We get an up-close and personal look at exactly how beekeeping works, with details into Mary's backyard hives and kitchen honey factory, and we also meet professional, truck-driving beekeepers who bring the bees to pollinate crops from California to Maine to Florida.
And as the worry over the disappearance of millions of bees grows, we also meet the scientists investigating the problem, with the focus on parasites, pesticides, and viruses. I found the book fascinating, and was left with a hunger for local honey. My current front-runner for this category. Surprisingly, both kids had already read it. I forget they have reading lives that I don't even see, sometimes. A