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POLLEN: DARWIN’S 130 YEAR PREDICTION
**Junior Library Guild selection**
“POLLEN is extraordinary! What a great story that encapsulates so many important concepts in science - pollination, structure and function of living things, and how scientific discoveries take time. It is so well written and will make a wonderful read-aloud.” Emily Morgan, co-author of Picture Perfect Science
Elementary Science – POLLEN
How long does it take for science to find an answer to a problem?
On January 25, 1862, naturalist Charles Darwin received a box of orchids. One flower, the Madagascar star orchid, fascinated him. It had an 11.5” nectary, the place where flowers make nectar, the sweet liquid that insects and birds eat. How, he wondered, did insects pollinate the orchid? It took 130 years to find the answer.
After experiments, he made a prediction. There must be a giant moth with a 11.5” proboscis, a straw-like tongue. Darwin died without ever seeing the moth, which was catalogued by entomologists in in 1903. But still no one had actually observed the moth pollinating the orchid.
In 1992, German entomologist, Lutz Thilo Wasserthal, Ph.D. traveled to Madagascar. By then, the moths were rare. He managed to capture two moths and released them in a cage with the orchid. He captured the first photo of the moth pollinating the flower, as Darwin had predicted 130 years before.
Backmatter includes information on the moth, the orchid, Charles Darwin, Lutz Wasserthal. Also included is Wasserthal’s original photo taken in 1992.
MOMENTS IN SCIENCE COLLECTION
This exciting series focuses on small moments in science that made a difference.
• • BURN: Michael Faraday’s Candle
• • CLANG! Ernst Chladni’s Sound Experiments (2019 NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book)
• • POLLEN: Darwin’s 130 Year Prediction
• • ECLIPSE: How the 1919 Eclipse Proved Einstein’s Theory of
EROSION: How Hugh Bennett Saved America’s Soil and Stopped the Dust Bowl
A.I.: How Patterns Helped Artificial Intelligence Defeat World Champion Lee Sedol
AUTHOR: Darcy Pattison
Darcy Pattison is the author of science books for kids, including four National Science Teachers Association Outstanding Science Trade Books: Clang: Ernst Chladni’s Sound Experiments 2019; Nefertiti, the Spidernaut, 2017; Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma: The True Story of an Orphaned Cub, 2015; and Desert Baths 2013. She also writes science fiction early chapter books and science fiction young adult novels. Her books have been translated into ten languages. For more, see darcypattison.com/about.
ILLUSTRATOR: Peter Willis
With over 20 years’ experience in illustration and design, illustrator Peter Willis continues to be as enthusiastic and passionate about his work as ever. His illustrations have palpable character, bringing them to life through his craft and quirky approach. He lives in North East England with his wife and daughter. Other Moments in Science include BURN: Michael Faraday’s Candle, and CLANG! Ernst Chladni’s Sound Experiments. Peter is also the illustrator of THE NANTUCKET SEA MONSTER: A Fake News Story, a Junior Library Guild Selection, a 2018 NCTE Notable Children’s Book in Language Arts, and translated into Korean. Peter Willis brings humor to the story, but he also manages to convey accurate information about matter and its physical properties.
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. (BookLife)\n