honeybee poems and paintings by Douglas Florian
Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster. 2012
This reviewer obtained a copy of the book from the local public library.
My favorite part of summer is sitting and watching bees visit the blossoms in my yard. Last summer I discovered their favorite plant was the catmint growing smack dab in the middle of my vegetable garden. There were so many bees collecting nectar that the tall purple spikes were waving as if being tossed about by a gentle breeze. I LOVE bees and who best to celebrate their wonderfulness is beloved poet Douglas Florian.
Each of the 15 poems gives details about a particular characteristic of our honeymakers.
How in the end
Throughout, we learn the names of the different bees that populate the hive and their jobs: Drones, Workers, and Queen. Most of the poems have a bouncy rhyme, but two have a definiate rap feel to them.
Take 'Summer Hummer' for example:
"I’m the hummer of summer,
So busy with buzz.
All covered with fuzz."
Florian’s bright paintings, done in gouache paint, colored pencils, and collage on primed paper bags that ooze warmth and happiness, accompany every poem, as does a short paragraph expounding on the facts highlighted in each poem.
Florian ends this glorious tribute with 'Where are the Bees?' a sobering note on the disappearance of bees due to mites, viruses, pesticides, or fungi. Scientists have named it Colony Collapse Disorder.
"Bees give us sweet honey,
They pollinate flowers.
The beeswax in candles
Keeps burning for hours.
But some hives have vanished,
Some bees disappeared.
(From mites or pollution
Or illness, it’s feared.)
Let’s hope that before long
The bees come back strong,
And hives will be humming,
Bees buzzing along.”
Overall, this is a wonderful introduction to bees for all ages. The tone is playful, joyful, and just plain fun to share. A perfect companion to The Hive Detectives by Loree Griffin Burns, Magic School Bus Inside a beehive by Joanna Cole, The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco, The Beeman by Laurie Krebs, The Honeybee Man by Lela Nargi, and two of my favorite fiction titles A Hive for the Honeybee by Soinbhe Lally and a love story for teens, Kissing the Bee by Kathe Kola.
Have I made you hungry for a spoonful of honey?