Saturday, November 19, 2011
Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you two fun picture books that reference "honey" and honeybees.
A few months ago, I saw a review for THE HONEYBEE MAN by Lela Nargi and illustrated Krysten Brooker on She is Too Fond of Books' blog, and I had a feeling that Booking Son and I would enjoy this book. THE HONEYBEE MAN tells the story of Fred, a beekeeper who lives in Brooklyn (of all places!) It is filled with lots of facts (and just enough fiction) to make it an educational and very fun picture book.
I just loved THE HONEYBEE MAN, probably more so than Booking Son although he did enjoy it. Since I knew next-to-nothing about honeybees and the making of honey, I was actually really "into" this story. I appreciated learning about a beekeeper, but I also loved how the story was written. It was informative and poetic at the same time. For example, the author gave detailed descriptions about making honey; and then she juxtaposed the busy bees and their hives with the bustling crowds in Brooklyn. It was a great mix of fact and fiction.
As I mentioned earlier, THE HONEYBEE MAN was just chock full of interesting facts. Even the end papers are filled with diagrams of bees, bee stingers, hives, the waggle dance and much more. There is also a section at the end of the book which gives "some amazing facts about honey, honeybees, and beekeepers." I can't even begin to tell you how much I learned from this picture book.
But this book was also a bit whimsical. Fred was a daydreamer and allowed himself to imagine his bees (and himself) flying over New York City in search of nectar. He so wishes he could talk to and understand his bees. However, the book eventually returned to the business of making honey. I just loved how Fred thanked his bees for the honey and then shared it with all of his neighbors.
I thought it was interesting to learn that the author wrote THE HONEYBEE MAN because she was inspired by two apiarists who live in Brooklyn. Evidently, urban beekeeping is a growing trend (who knew?) and I love that Ms. Nargi wrote a story about such a sweet apiarist.
THE HONEYBEE MAN is a must-read picture book for elementary age children. It's a perfect introduction to bees and beekeeping as well as the making of honey, and I think it's ideal for the classroom.
JAM & HONEY by Melita Morales and illustrated by Laura J. Bryant is another cute picture book. It's geared for a younger audience than THE HONEYBEE MAN, probably three to five years old, but it still has a very special message. The book begins with a young girl who is picking berries so she can make jam. She comes across a honeybee who is gathering nectar and she immediately becomes very afraid that the bee will sting her. She decides to stay still so the bee won't bother her. Part two of the book tells the same story; however, this time, it's through the eyes of the honeybee. The bee is equally afraid of the little girl and determines that there are enough vines for the both of them. Both the girl and the bee gather what they need to make jam and honey respectively.
As a mom, I really liked what JAM & HONEY set out to do -- teach children to understand other living creatures. Both the girl and the bee were initially afraid of each other, but they realized the value in staying out of each other's way. In addition, I think this book reinforces the importance in respecting others -- even when you might fear them.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the illustrations. They are just adorable. Both the little girl and the bee are quite cute, and I can't stop smiling about the expressions on the girl's face when she sees the bee. The pictures most definitely enhanced the story!
Highly recommend for preschoolers!
Thanks to the publishers for sending copies of these books.
If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!