A New Zealand import describes a worker honeybee‘s scouting mission.
Naming his protagonist Scout for her current role in the hive, Huber delivers a present-tense narrative of her odyssey. It is fall, and Scout seeks its “last flowers.” Through winds and past a hungry black bird, she finds a “sea of flowers” from which she gathers nectar and pollen. A sudden hailstorm temporarily grounds her, and when she arrives home, guard bees are battling a wasp that’s attempting to rob the hive. Once inside, she does her waggle dance so her “sister bees” can find her meadow and harvest enough nectar to make honey for the winter. Running alongside the narrative of Scout’s day are supplemental facts about the science of bees (flying charges them with static electricity, attracting pollen, for instance), and a brief author’s note and index provide additional informational heft. The text at times strains under figurative language that’s not quite right—the bees “flick from the hive like golden pebbles”—but by and large, it succeeds in accurately dramatizing honeybee behavior. Lovelock’s full-bleed paintings, done in watercolor, acrylic ink and colored pencil, vary in perspective and scale, making the most of the autumn palette and refraining at all times from anthropomorphizing their subjects.
While hardly the only bee book available, this handsome, respectful volume deserves a place on the shelf. (Informational picture book. 3-7)