The Golfing Bee is back in a new rule-learning adventure from Kranz and Motz (The Golfing Bee, 2016).
Wendell, whose friend George gave the bee a miniature set of clubs and a golfer’s outfit in their first story, is eager to spend more time on the golf course. He sleeps with his clubs, and on a rainy day, he practices his swing in the hive. When the sun finally comes out, he greets George and follows along with the game. At first, mud splashes everywhere, even over Wendell when he gets too close! Flying higher, Wendell admires how the ball spins. When George’s ball gets stuck in a sand trap, “called a bunker,” Kranz helpfully notes, Wendell works to free the ball. With a ladybug and a spider, Wendell has almost moved the ball when George shouts at him to stop: moving the ball is breaking the rules! Wendell is ashamed, and his feelings are hurt. After swinging and missing the ball a number of times, George realizes that he needs to apologize. He knows Wendell was only trying to help. Friends with Wendell again, George is able to hit the ball, and Wendell plans to learn more about golf’s rules. Wendell’s reaction after getting yelled at for trying to help will strike a chord with young readers, and George’s abashed apology may feel familiar to parents; that the pair ends their night together looking forward to the next day is a comforting lesson on friendship and/or parent-child relationships. Kranz’s vocabulary is accessible, although the congested text might intimidate readers. Motz’s large, brightly colored illustrations, which manage to show the size differential between bee and human without complicating the composition, are a huge draw. One illustration, in which the ball is hidden in the bunker, is especially fun for children who enjoy seek-and-find–style books. The cartoonish anthropomorphic bee and his round-eyed golfer friend are likable even when at odds. Wendell’s hive room, complete with bed, is still a mystery, but young readers are unlikely to be bothered by the bee-sized furniture.
A fun story of friendship and forgiveness for young independent readers and patient lap readers.