Ritchie’s five friends are back and learning about urban beekeeping in this newest outing in the Exploring Our Community series.
Their guide is Mr. Cardinal, who keeps two hives in his pesticide-free, dandelion-dotted backyard garden. The kids help him pick out new, native flowers at the nursery to add to his garden before visiting a local pollinator garden. They look sadly at a new building going up in a formerly vacant lot before returning to Mr. Cardinal’s to harvest honey and put it into jars. Nick is stung and calmly sits while Mr. Cardinal extracts the stinger and treats the sting. Throughout, bee facts are imparted in the running narrative, in supplemental expository text on each topical spread and in dialogue balloons (“Bees like purple, blue and yellow flowers,” says Pedro; “They can’t see the color red!” adds Yulee). Tips on helping bees and a glossary close the tale. While there is some oversimplification (the extraction of honey for market is far quicker and less messy than in real life), most of the information presented is solid, with the unfortunate exception of the illustration of a feral beehive as a gray, papery blob rather than separate panes of waxy, bee-covered comb. The kids are diverse; Mr. Cardinal has tan skin and black hair.
A serviceable introduction to a hot topic. (Informational picture book. 5-8)