A comprehensive, elementary-level introduction to the honeybee.
In well-organized two-page chapters, Milner explores honeybee colony structure, reproduction, pollination, honey production, the importance of bees to food production, threats, and more. From a brief opening survey of different bee species to a concluding section on planting a pollinator-friendly garden, the facts are unfurled in a direct, unhurried manner. The author carefully pitches her presentation to her audience, often supplying leading questions (“How do bees make honey?”; “What is a swarm?”) as segues. She includes scientific and other specialized vocabulary (“stamen,” “larva,” “waggle dance,” “nurse bee”) naturally and with appropriate context to aid comprehension. Her bright, matte illustrations, dominated by honey yellows, are similarly unfussy, clearly communicating the desired information and offering the occasional challenge (spotting the queen in a swarm). Most humans depicted are white, save in the final spread. The factors contributing to bee-population decline are presented with suitable gravity and with concrete suggestions for readers to help mitigate them (building a “bee hotel”; planting wildflowers). While it’s too bad she uses the sensationalistic term “killer bee” and practicing beekeepers will smirk at the implication they are never stung, the presentation on the whole is both responsible and accurate.
Though low on frills, as solid an introduction for the age range as can be found in print. (Informational picture book. 4-10)