A hexagonal, die-cut window frames a honeybee as she scouts for nectar and then informs her hive of forage.
Teckentrup’s mixed-media illustrations are the star of this picture book, depicting fields of poppies, daisies, and more, the bee always at the center of the die-cut peephole, which gets smaller as the pages turn. Hegarty’s text, in rhyming couplets, is serviceable; nothing more. “Gathering nectar as she goes, / From every foxglove, every rose. / Dusty with pollen, the little bee / Buzzes, buzzes, busily.” It is occasionally misleading, as when it tells readers that the bee is “harvesting flowers” rather than nectar. When Bee happens upon a field with “too many flowers for just one bee,” Teckentrup’s double-page spread depicts a riot of flowers, the printlike textures of the flowers’ petals overlapping one another with a wonderfully smudgy effect that echoes the grains of pollen the bee carries with her. Unfortunate license is taken with the depiction of the hive, which looks like the wasps’ nest too often mistaken for a beehive. Still, the book’s heart is in the right place, as it describes pollination (though not its role in plant reproduction) and makes sure to inform readers that “So many plants and flowers you see / Were given life by one small bee.”
There are few enough books written for very young children about honeybees that this beautiful book is worth a look. (Picture book. 2-5)