BEE DANCE by Rick Chrustowski


Age Range: 3 - 7
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A honeybee scout finds a nectar-rich prairie and returns to the hive to tell her sisters.

Brilliant colors capture readers right away, the morning sky honey yellow and the grass and foliage bright green. The prairie is a riot of color and variety—black-eyed Susans, purple coneflowers, bee balm, and more. The scout heads back to the hive for the titular dance, diagrammed against the comb. Chrustowski's simple language, appropriate for preschoolers and early-elementary children, captures the basics of the waggle dance in broad gestures: it describes a figure eight; its length indicates distance. Further detail is provided in an author's note. Cut-paper collage and colored pencils visually define bees, flowers, and hive boxes, both inside and out. The dance acts as the story's hinge; afterward a whole squadron of forager bees heads back to the prairie to gather nectar and pollen in another glut of color. The use of the second person invites children to identify first with the scout bee and then the foragers, a device that's reinforced by frequent close-ups. The tale is pleasingly bee-focused despite the depiction of a man-made hive; the emphasis is on bee communication and behavior, not beekeeping or protection, though respect for the insects is implicit.

A tiny but remarkable one-day adventure that may well ignite entomological excitement in its readers. (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 16th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9919-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2015


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