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LITTLE BEE by Edward Gibbs


by Edward Gibbs & illustrated by Edward Gibbs

Age Range: 2 - 4

Pub Date: April 3rd, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-316-12707-3
Publisher: LB Kids/Little, Brown

It's easier to be the hunter than the hunted in this board book that represents the food chain.

Each character appears safe at first glance, but a neutral or smug facial expression turns to trepidation when a predator (or pesky nuisance) hurries it off the page. A frog chases the bee; a snake pursues the frog; a mongoose hunts the snake, and so on: “Scary mongoose, / scary mongoose… / why do you flee? // Because there's a fierce lion chasing me!” There's no relief from the hunt in this circular tale; even the king of the jungle expresses fear when a hunter in safari gear approaches with a net, and guess who's after the hunter? Exaggerated body language and comical facial expressions blunt any potential fright. Italicized type emphasizes rhythmic phrases. The mixed-media scenes feature squiggly black lines that convey energy and movement. The brevity of the text suits the compact offering. Unfortunately, this selection suffers from an unnecessary tactile gimmick. Due to sparkling fabric wings on the cover, a choking-hazard label warns the selection unsuitable for children younger than 3; it's simply a puzzling decision, as the toddler audience would benefit the most from these sturdy pages.

This unnecessary, flimsy accessory diminishes the book’s effectiveness. (Board book. 2-4)