cover image Pollen: Darwin’s 130-Year Prediction

Pollen: Darwin’s 130-Year Prediction

Darcy Pattison, illus. by Peter Willis. Mims House, $23.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-62944-119-1

Pattison offers an inviting story about Charles Darwin, told visually through Willis’s playfully designed paper collage. In 1862, Darwin—rendered as a grandfatherly figure with a bushy beard and eyebrows—is perplexed by the star orchid from Madagascar: “He wondered how an insect could drink its nectar. The nectary was too long and narrow for an insect to crawl into.” After experimenting with needles and brushes to attempt picking up pollen, Darwin hypothesizes that the star orchid must be pollinated by a moth with an 11-inch proboscis—one that lives with the orchid in Madagascar. Darwin died before he could find such a moth, but future entomologists continued Darwin’s quest, 130 years later witnessing a Madagascar hawk moth pollinating a star orchid. The creators offer a gratifying narrative arc while presenting an important truth about science: “Progress in science needs predictions, observations over a long period of time, and sometimes, a bit of luck.” Ages 6–9. [em](BookLife) [/em]