When Beatrix notices that bees have left their hollow-tree nest in her local park, she needs the town’s help to bring them back.
Bea walks to school through the park, where she discovers a nest of active bumblebees in a hollow oak tree. She is fascinated with the tiny creatures, and she visits the tree every day. But one day, the nest is silent; the bees are gone. She asks her teacher about it, but he doesn’t know why bees disappear. She notices the flowers around the oak tree have been cut down. She asks the school librarian, who helps her find books about bees. She learns all about bees—what they eat, how they pollinate, and what kinds of foods would stop growing without them—and that information is shared with readers. Bea makes a plan. In early spring, she plants wildflowers around the tree. She does her science report on bees, and she hands out seeds at school. Seedlings sprout all over town, and finally the bees return. The illustrations, which depict Bea as black, are colorful but largely redundant of the text. An endnote in small font and scientific language is appropriate for older readers, and the final page of labeled wildflowers is a lovely and useful finish. The story is paced well, and Bea is likable enough, but the book’s design lacks professional polish.
This well-intentioned effort falls short. (Picture book. 6-10)