The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats by Sandra Markle (Millbrook Press, September 2014) is another fascinating scientific mystery. As with The Case of the Vanishing Tree Frogs, which I read and reviewed a few years ago, Little Brown Bats is about a species of animal that is mysteriously disappearing in the world. In this case, it is the little brown bats of Eastern North America, bats about 5 cm in length, that are awakening from hibernation and dying at an unprecedented pace.
In this scientific mystery, Ms. Markle presents the facts: why little brown bats are important, how and when people started noticing a problem with a reduced bat population, and how scientists approached the problem. There is a strong emphasis on evidence and research, and I loved how this was not simply a cut-and-dry report. It was written as if we were detectives with the scientists, and we, as reader, were frustrated by clues that ended up being red herrings, much as the scientists must have been frustrated.
Little Brown Bats also had some gorgeous imagery in it. Some pictures were of scientists and those were low resolution and not as interesting (to me, at least!). But other pictures somehow captured the gorgeous beauty of these little creatures. It will truly be a tragedy if these infections wiped out the entire species of bats! I am glad we live in an era where science takes an interest.
And now, thanks to Ms. Markle’s easily approachable book, so can children! Ms. Markle says in an after-note that she hopes her books encourage kids to love science. I can definitely see her positive impact as I read it myself!
Note: I received a digital review copy.