This entry in the Makers Make It Work series elucidates bee biology and beekeeping within an easy-to-read multicultural story.
While searching for the perfect tree to build their treehouse, Arun and his little sister, Keya, stumble upon a damaged feral bees’ nest in an oak. They turn to Dr. Chen, a neighbor who has beehives in her backyard and sells honey at the farmers market. Arun, Keya, and Dr. Chen work together to relocate the bees to another hive and then to harvest and bottle the honey from the original comb. In the end, Arun reclaims the tree for their treehouse and crowns his sister “Queen Bee.” The text is a bit heavy-handed here and there: “Arun checked with his parents first. When their dad said yes, they raced to Dr. Chen’s house.” While these didactic intrusions are well-meant, they weigh down the text, making the story less lively and zippy than the title and the illustrations by Ceolin would suggest. Still, the scientific information contained in both the narrative and supplementary inserts throughout, as well as the suggested “maker” activity in the backmatter (planting a bee-friendly garden), is top-notch. Notably, the feral hive is accurately depicted—a rarity. Arun and Keya’s family seem to be South Asian, and Dr. Chen is probably Chinese. Simultaneously publishing are series companions The Lost and Found Weekend, about sewing; Rocket Rivals, about rocketry; and Slime King, about chemistry.
A solid addition to any classroom library, with the added bonus of a cast that’s wholly people of color. (Early reader. 6-9)