Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Non-Fiction Picture Books Show Nature's Wonders

   Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy -- hashtag #nfpb2020! Thanks to her hosting and sharing and those who add their posts, you can discover and celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books! 



        I thought I knew quite a lot about bees, until I read this new book about "The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera". Candace Fleming takes us readers along with young Apis as she begins her life, as she "squirms, pushes, chews" out of her solitary cell, ready to begin life like thousands of others in the hive. 
        Does she dry off and fly out to start gathering nectar, becoming coated with pollen? It's a resounding "NO" from Candice as young Apis has other jobs to do before ever seeing the light of day! She first rests then crawls to a cell to eat and eat sticky, rich pollen, growing stronger as her wings dry. Then, does she leave to fly? NO! 
        The steps to doing what we know bees do, flying out into the world of flowers to gather nectar and to pollinate, don't happen yet. Denise cleverly leads us on by those questions about flying. Is it time, yet? Anticipation builds! While we're taught all the jobs Apis is first responsible for, Eric Rohmann's fabulous, up-close, double-page illustrations show every detail of this bee. Up close, we notice the soft browns turning to gold, the stripes and fuzzy fur-like coat (excellently suited to catch that pollen), the pink-red tongue, transparent wings, antennae made for versatility. Whether feeding the queen, nursing newbies, or cleaning, we have a "bees'-eye-view"!
building cells in the hive

        At last on a fold-out double-page, Apis enters the wider world and here her journey becomes vast, looking for the needed blooms, back to deliver nectar and messages to other bees as to where the "best" is found. Following this character feels like we've come to know a new friend; we marvel at her tireless work. Denise has given Apis a life of a lot of work, some little rest, all ending in about thirty-five days. Sadness comes at the end for this Apis Millifera and gratitude, too, for the honey we enjoy. However, there is hope, also. Back at the nest, "a brand-new honeybee/squirms, pushes, chews",

        The back matter is filled with more information: a page with further explanation of each part of a bee's body; sections about how to help and the communication of bees dancing, online links, and other books available. I loved meeting Apis Melliflora and learning all about her life's work!


  1. Replies
    1. Yes, I guess you can tell I agree! Thanks, Margie!

  2. I haven't read this one yet. I love the art you included!

  3. I just read this book, too. It is one of the best books about bees for kids and the adults who read to them (me). Aren't the illustrations just exquisite?

    1. Yes, to 'see' this book is a joy, Alex. My youngest granddaughter loves learning about bees & I am so excited about it, too, for her! Thanks!

  4. This book is awesome! I loved it even more than Giant Squid. I'm looking forward to reading it to a lot of classrooms this spring!


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