Kindness Matters: Sharing Bees (Antoinette Clark)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Kindness Matters: Sharing Bees, written by Antoinette Clark and illustrated by Russel Wayne, a story of teamwork and consideration.

Sadie the bee wakes one morning to the warm sun, and is excited – it’s the first day of spring, and she is ready to help her hive collect pollen and nectar. She meets up with her friends, and they discuss their game plan; Sadie is particularly interested in procuring some white clover nectar, a favorite of the baby bees in Honeycomb City. She and her friends all work together to collect their bounty, right up until ominous clouds appear on the horizon. Suddenly, the bees are all nervous: heavy rain drops can be dangerous, and many of them are moving slow due to their loads of nectar. Thinking quickly, Sadie comes up with a plan that will get everyone and their nectar home safely. It’ll just take a little teamwork, and a little sharing.

As stories go, this one is not bad at all. While the language of the text can be a little on-the-nose and overly literal in places, the story has a lot of good elements and themes: community, generosity, consideration, cooperation, leadership, courage. Unfortunately, this gets overshadowed by the deeply confusing art choices. Sadie, along with the other bees of her hive, are depicted as having humans heads, two legs, and two arms with fingered hands, yet with wings and bee-striped bodies. They almost appear to be humans in bee costumes, but everything from their hive to their size is consistent with that of actual bees (and this is never addressed in the text). It’s an unnecessary and distracting visual element, especially as the book claims to educate on the importance of bumblebees in nature; if there were the case, why not illustrate normal bees? Why give them human features? It was quite perplexing for JJ, who repeatedly searched for the “bees” the text I was reading referred to (to her eyes, she saw only humans). The length is fine, but this major stumble definitely detracts from the overall experience. Ultimately, this one was not for us, ambitious story notwithstanding.

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the author in exchange for an honest review.)

The Bee Who Sneezed (Stephen Evans)

Hello, friends! Today, we read The Bee Who Sneezed, written by Stephen Evans and illustrated by Mic Ru, the story of a bee who finds a new talent in an unexpected way.

A bee is flying one day when he suddenly sneezes, and goes in the opposite direction he intends to. Suddenly, he is falling: he cannot get his bearings! But he flattens his wings and finds that he can glide instead. Excited to find his new talent, he shows the rest of his hive how to use this new way of flying, and is proud.

This book is sort of a mixed bag. On one hand, the bright, colorful illustrations are great, and JJ loved them. And while the story and message are both great, being proud of your own unique talents (including a couple of blank pages in the back of the book where readers can list their own talents, which is nice), the book has a few issues: the rhyme scheme isn’t very consistent, which makes reading it aloud a bit tricky, and there are some pages that could have benefited from different punctuation or grammar choices. Still, the book is a good length for baby bookworms, and JJ enjoyed it, so Baby Bookworm approved!

Flowers Are Calling (Rita Gray)

Hello friends! Today, we read Flowers Are Calling, written by Rita Gray and illustrated by Kenard Pak, a beautiful and informative book about flowers and pollinators! Told in a combination of playful rhymes and nonfiction blurbs, each page introduces different species of flowers and the individual pollinators (like bees, hummingbirds, and even bats) they attract.

This book was packed full of really interesting information about flowers that even I didn’t know, and I really loved how it explained pollinators and how important they are to the ecosystem. Furthermore, the illustrations were absolutely gorgeous, and JJ really liked them. However, while she loved the rhyming pages, the informational pages did not hold her attention as easily, and she started to get bored near the end of the book. So, this one may not be the best for the younger reader (unless you only read the rhyming pages, which you absolutely could!), an older reader, especially one who loves plants and flowers, would adore this. So overall, Baby Bookworm approved!