One Long Line

Cover of Loree Griffin Burns' book, One Long Line: A parade of caterpillars coming down a house plant and onto a desk


The first title in a brand-new early chapter book series from Loree Griffin Burns, Jamie Green, and MITKids spotlights remarkable creatures, inquisitive people, and fascinating conversations. The creatures? Processionary caterpillars with mysterious group marching habits. The people? Jean Henri Fabre and, many years later, Terrence Fitzgerald—scientists who became intensely curious about the caterpillars and their marching. And the conversations? They span lifetimes, as one researcher continues a dialogue started by the other. In this playful, candid, and accessible book for young readers, Burns pulls readers straight into the “ask, test, repeat” nature of the scientific process, demonstrating how human curiosity creates one long line of learning.

      • MIT Kids Press, 2024
      • 64 pages
      • For ages 7-10


      • Junior Library Guild Selection


School Library Journal, May 24, 2024, Starred Review
Inquiry shapes this creative biological glimpse into the lives of marching caterpillars and two scientists who dedicated their studies to them. Jean-Henri Fabre and Terrence Fitzgerald never met. Although born in different centuries and countries, they each studied the behavior of caterpillars in their natural environment and conducted experiments to answer their questions. Fabre was one of the first scientists to examine insects in their environs. When Fabre marvels at caterpillars moving in a procession, he asks, “can the second caterpillar be a line leader, too?” Paired with accurate and dual-tone illustrations, the lines that sculpt Fabre’s face in lamplight are sharply beautiful, as he carefully lifts a caterpillar. Green’s remarkable art adds heart to this shared experience of two men with a great passion, and their choice to formulate sketches is reminiscent of a scientific catalog. Fitzgerald has his own questions, and Burns frankly discusses the sacrifice of a caterpillar in a direct, but gentle way. It’s clear, from Fitzgerald’s behavioral experiments, he did his best to be humane. Informative panels appear at the end of each chapter, either discussing one of the scientists or providing further information about caterpillars. Back matter includes a glossary, further reading, source notes, and a bibliography. VERDICT Burns’s writing style invites readers in to a compelling narrative of wonder and discovery; this is a first purchase. ~ Rachel Zuffa
Booklist, March 15, 2024, Starred Review

Hungry pine processionary caterpillars can travel considerable distances when they’re searching for food, and they always make these journeys in long, single-file lines. This engaging offering documents the research of two scientists who became fascinated by these unique behavior patterns, even though the men lived in different countries at different times. Jean-Henri Fabre was French and died in 1915; Terrence Fitzgerald is American and was born in 1941. The text carefully lays out how each researcher conducted careful observations, formulated specific questions and hypotheses, and devised ingenious experiments to test their hypotheses. While the “long line” reference in the title alludes to the caterpillar processions, it also speaks to how one discovery led to additional lines of questioning and how Fitzgerald’s research followed the path laid out by Fabre and other nineteenth-century entomologists. The text is particularly engaging, and is supported by numerous sidebars, illustrations, and rich back matter that will be extremely helpful for report writers. This engaging STEM offering has applications that cross curricular areas, provides accessible models of how scientific inquiry works, and introduces a couple of pretty cool scientists as well as a plethora of caterpillars.~ Kathleen McBroom

Eliot Schrefer, author of Printz Honor Book Queer Ducks (and Other Animals): The Natural World of Animal Sexuality

One Long Line captures the endless fascination ordinary creatures offer if we ask them the right questions. I can imagine a generation of young scientists beginning their journeys by reading this book. A remarkable and inspiring start to an important new series.