Bruno the Beekeeper: A Honey Primer

Aneta Frantiska Holasová, trans. from the Czech by Andrew Lass. Candlewick, $19.99 (80p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1461-1
Bruno, a patient, golden-colored anthropomorphic bear, handles his beehives with great care in this narrative vehicle for a compendium of bee lore, with sufficient descriptions of beekeeping, equipment, bee behavior, and biology to serve as a capable resource. Bee facts alternate with honey-washed, sepia-inked sections featuring Bruno, who, Holasová says, “enjoyed a carefree life filled with mischief and fun” as a cub before inheriting his grandfather’s bees. After careful study, Bruno and his grandmother, who makes candles from honeycombs and helps with chores, have become diligent workers—the counterparts of their bees. Each section is illustrated distinctively: the life cycles of workers, drones, and queens are painted in loose lines; bee species are portrayed with photographic precision; and anatomical diagrams are presented in chalklike lines, though the queen, whose ovaries, vagina, and sperm sac are all labeled, is strangely more detailed than the drones, which only bear the label “reproductive organs.” Holasová’s unusual blend of storytelling and fact feels oddly meshed, but this should capture the interest of young apiarists. Ages 7–10. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 02/09/2021
Release date: 03/23/2021
Genre: Children's
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