Bugs in Danger: Our Vanishing Bees, Butterflies, and Beetles  – Mark Kurlansky; illustrated by Jia Liu

 Bugs in Danger: Our Vanishing Bees, Butterflies, and Beetles  – Mark Kurlansky; illustrated by Jia Liu, Bloomsbury; (9781547600854), 2019

Format: hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4.5

Genre: nonfiction

What did you like about the book? If the aim of this book was to terrify the reader, then it achieved its purpose. Mark Kurlansky clearly details all the reasons why insects are so important to biodiversity, plants, pollination, and humans. He also explains how badly endangered many species are…and how it’s all our fault. From pesticide use to light pollution to habitat loss to climate change, we humans are killing off important bugs. My only criticism of this book is that it’s a little light on the suggestions for how to save insects…but maybe that’s because we are too far gone? Yikes. He briefly mentions the importance of economic incentives in poor nations so they won’t clear important habitats; that struck me as particularly interesting. Returning to biological control of pests would be a difficult transition, but a necessary one since pesticide use is a primary culprit. Overall, this is an excellent (and terrifying) read. Highly recommend for all middle and high school libraries. 

To whom would you recommend this book?  Students who are interested in bugs or climate change will be drawn to this book.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  It was difficult to read because it made me so sad.

Who should buy this book? Recommended for all middle and high school libraries.

Where would you shelve it? Nonfiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes; it’s well written and fascinating.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth, MA

Date reviewed: January 13, 2020


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