Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Douglas Florian
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Simon and Schuster, 2012   ISBN: 978-1442426528

Welcome to the hive of some busy honeybees. They are delighted to have a visitor, and are eager to show you around. The guards will “greet you when you arrive,” and then you can begin your bee adventure.

As you move through the hive you will meet some of the bees who live there. There is the queen bee who lays two thousand eggs every day. She is fed royal jelly by her “doting daughters,” but her sons, the drones, never show any care for their hard working mother. Their role is to find a queen bee in another hive and to mate with her.

All the work in the hive is done by the worker bee sisters. They feed the queen, the drones, and the babies. They also clean, keep the hive cool on hot days, and make repairs. All day long they work and they never have time to do any “Miss-bee-having.”

There are also the bees who leave the hive and whose job it is to collect nectar. These busy insects are “A summer sensation,” working hard when the weather is warm to bring pollen and nectar to the hive.

Often told from the point of view of the bees themselves, the poems in this book are amusing and informative. Each poem is accompanied by a full page illustration and a short piece of text that further explores the topic presented in the poem. The author wraps up our hive visit by telling us that many thousands of honeybee colonies have disappeared. It is believed that some kind of disease is responsible, and as Douglas Florian explains, we all need to do what we can to protect honeybees “not only for the sake of bees and their honey” but also because both wild and cultivated plants needs bees to pollinate them.