It’s Earth Day tomorrow and a month when flowers blossom and insects reappear near my house. To celebrate, I’m pairing two recent non-fiction picture books that focus on a very important creature in our world: the honeybee.
Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera
Author: Candace Fleming
Illustrator: Eric Rohmann
Publisher/Date: Neal Porter Books, an imprint of Holiday House Publishing/2020
Themes: honeybees, nature, nonfiction
Short Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Get up close and personal with Apis, one honeybee, as she embarks on her journey through life, complete with exquisitely detailed illustrations.
Beginning at birth, the honeybee emerges through the wax cap of her cell and is driven to protect and take care of her hive. She cleans the nursery and feeds the larvae and the queen. But is she strong enough to fly? Not yet!
She builds wax comb to store honey, and transfers pollen from other bees into the storage. She defends the hive from invaders. Apis accomplishes all of this before beginning her life outdoors as an adventurer, seeking nectar to bring back to her hive.
Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann describe the life cycle of the hard-working honeybee in this poetically written, thoroughly researched picture book, similar in form and concept to the Sibert and Orbis Pictus award book Giant Squid, complete with stunning gatefold and an essay on the plight of honeybees.
Read a review at The Picture Book Buzz and another by Jilanne Hoffmann.
Author: Kirsten Hall
Illustrator: Isabelle Arsenault
Publisher/Date: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster/2018
Themes: honeybees, nonfiction, nature, rhyming
Short Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Buzz from flower to flower with a sweet honeybee in this timely, clever, and breathtakingly gorgeous picture book from critically acclaimed author Kirsten Hall and award-winning illustrator Isabelle Arsenault.
Do you hear it?
You’re near it.
With zooming, vibrant verse by Kirsten Hall and buzzy, beautiful illustrations by Isabelle Arsenault, this celebration of the critically important honeybee is a honey-sweet treasure of a picture book.
Read a review at Julie Rowan-Zoch’s blog.
I paired these books because they explore the same topic in different ways. In Honeybee, Fleming and Rohmann get up close to one honeybee and recount her life in minute detail. This reader, and reviewers, have noted that it feels like you’re inhabiting the hive with Apis as the tension builds to the day Apis flies. In contrast, The Honeybee is a rhyming picture book, suitable for younger readers, that encourages readers to follow along with a flying honeybee, as she zooms through fields, pollinating as she flies, and then returns to her hive. Both books contain back matter, useful for further research about these fascinating and important insects.
I love Candace Flemming’s Honeybee book! Have reviewed this extraordinary book, but am going to keep it in my draft box until International Bee Day in May. I have purchased several copies for grandchildren, a niece and my sister-in-law who raises bees on an organic farm! I know she’ll love it. I have seen Kirsten Hall’s book on Amazon, but haven’t read it. Hope to get a copy as it sounds lovely. Perfect pairing today!