Science - 06.12.2019

(singke) #1

SCIENCE 6 DECEMBER 2019 • VOL 366 ISSUE 6470 1187

lection driven by both. The tale is vividly
brought to life in spellbinding watercolor
collage renderings of swirling Geometridae
and landscapes caked in soot.
We learn that peppered moths (Biston
betularia) in the United Kingdom had a lik-
ing for trees covered in lichen, their light-
and-dark speckled wing and body coloring
camouflaging them as they rested. The
more charcoal-colored among them were,
as any hungry bird would have told you,
more conspicuous and thus extremely rare.
But the Industrial Revolution turned the
world upside down, literally turning white
to black. Coal-fired factories drowned the
sky and everything under it with soot.
Trees blackened, lichen succumbed to
sulfur dioxide, and the charcoal-colored
moths became less conspicuous than
their lighter relatives. Again, the birds no-
ticed, and the once-prominent speckled
moths became far less common than their
charcoal-colored kin.
Eventually, we began to recognize the
myriad ills of pollution. The air got cleaner.
The trees and lichen recovered. And once
again the lighter-speckled moths be-
came more successful at blending in and
Evolution is not always so tidy. But to-
gether, Thomas’s words and Egnéus’s il-
lustrations introduce the contours and
landmarks of this story in an elegant
and engaging fashion. Moth also conveys
broader lessons to guide young readers on
a journey into a life in science, or just a life

well lived: “Scramble through a forest...
Be silent. Be still. Look closely...and hope.”

Moth: An Evolution Story, Isabel Thomas, Illustrated
by Daniel Egnéus, Bloomsbury, 2019, 48 pp.

Butterf ies in Room 6

Reviewed by Caroline Ash^4

Metamorphosis—of ugly ducklings into
swans, of jellylike spawn into frogs, of cater-
pillars into butterflies—always seems miracu-
lous. In this book on insect metamorphosis,
Caroline Arnold tells the story of Mrs. Best,
a kindergarten teacher who brings a tiny
vial of butterfly eggs into her classroom.
Her students supply a vivarium with special
caterpillar food so they can watch the meta-
morphosis of the eggs into caterpillars, then
pupae, and finally glorious adult painted la-
dies. The book takes the reader through the
course of the children’s project, with a series
of fine photographs showing the details of
each stage in the life cycle of the butterflies.
The exciting anticipation of each transforma-
tion is summarized in carefully considered
text and culminates, of course, with the day
the exquisite adults emerge from the pu-
pal case, unfurl, and stiffen their patterned
wings. Beautiful close-up images let the read-
ers examine details of the insects’ anatomy
and learn about butterfly biology.
Finally, a warm day arrives, and it is time
to release the butterflies. The dazed insects
first walk onto the children’s hands before
lifting off to disappear over the horizon. For-
tunately, some hang around to appreciate the
school garden’s flowers.
It would have been good for Butterflies in
Room 6 to say a little more about why insects
are having such a tough time now, as well
as more about their role in pollination and
human food security. Still, it is an excellent
book, sure to generate discussion and flights
of imagination among humans who are simi-
larly poised for big changes.

Butterf ies in Room 6: See How They Grow,
Caroline Arnold, Charlesbridge, 2019, 40 pp.



Reviewed by Hilary Stewart^5

Planetarium is designed to replicate the
experience of walking through a museum
exhibition. It succeeds in this goal, cap-
turing the residual wonder that one feels
when stepping out of a quiet planetarium

a T. rex. The team named the T. rex “Sue” in
her honor. It is now displayed in a museum
Hendrickson frequented as a child.
Quotes from Hendrickson give the tale
an added boost of realism, but the text, in
staying true to Hendrickson’s life, might
occasionally leave young readers confused.
(References to Dominican amber mines and
“a long dispute about ownership” of the T.
rex, for example, go unexplained.) Nonethe-
less, children will relate to Hendrickson’s
joy in discoveries big and small, highlighted
by splashes of yellow in the vibrant water-
color illustrations.
Hendrickson’s transition from a solitary
outsider to an integral part of a team gives
the story another note of optimism. One way
to read the book’s title is as a straightfor-
ward description of the climactic moment
when Sue the scientist found Sue the T. rex.
But perhaps as Sue raced back to share her
findings with the group of like-minded trea-
sure hunters, she also found herself.

When Sue Found Sue: Sue Hendrickson Discovers
Her T. Rex, Toni Buzzeo, Illustrated by Diana Sudyka,
Abrams, 2019, 32 pp.


Reviewed by^ Brad Wible^3

Moth is a storybook illustration of a text-
book tale of environmental degradation,
then rehabilitation, and the natural se-

Published by AAAS

on December 12, 2019^

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