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THE BEEMAN by Laurie Krebs


by Laurie Krebs & illustrated by Melissa Iwai

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-7922-7224-2
Publisher: National Geographic

A beekeeping grandpa stars in debut author Krebs’s witty ditty modeled after The House that Jack Built. “Here is his jacket, / with zippered up hood / that covers his face / just the way that it should / when he visits his hives as / the Beeman.” Told from the granddaughter’s perspective, rhyming text introduces beekeeping equipment, processes, and the roles of each bee in the hive (including queen bee, drones, workers, and house bees). Iwai’s (Hannah’s Christmas, 2001, etc.) full-bleed acrylic-on-board illustrations picture adult and child in the backyard bee farm; text and vignettes—of a jacket, leather gloves, and beehive—appear in quarter-spread panels. Unfortunately, Iwai’s static figures compromise the vitality of her refreshing palette. In one spread, for example, adult and child—both in bee suits—appear against a backdrop of green trees, bushes, and a sun-dappled lawn; stiffly lifting the beehive, the grandfather looks as if he’s about to fall backward. Nevertheless, Iwai does a good job representing the bees; a dramatic close-up depicts “house bees” fanning the nectar in an intricate geometric honeycomb. Teachers wishing to supplement studies of community will find Krebs’s debut useful for its introduction to the social structure of bee-dom; librarians will likely notice a buzz for the book around Grandparent’s Day too. (Picture book. 4-8)