cover image Bumblebee, Bumblebee, Do You Know Me?: A Garden Guessing Game

Bumblebee, Bumblebee, Do You Know Me?: A Garden Guessing Game

Anne F. Rockwell. HarperCollins, $15.95 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-06-027330-9

Just in time to herald spring's flowers, Rockwell (Once Upon a Time This Morning) has created a graceful primer on the inhabitants of the backyard garden. Each spread poses an evocative flower riddle to a different insect: ""Bumblebee, bumblebee, do you know me? Yellow and green, I wave to the breeze to say that spring is here."" The answer, ""I am a daffodil,"" is found on the opposite page in lighter typeface, set in a line following the curve of the flower's leaf. Nine other flowers follow; for the grand finale, the riddle is addressed to a ""little boy,"" and the subject, a sunflower, stands tall across the spread when the book is held sideways. Using silk screens painted with watercolor and gouache, Rockwell creates elegant stylized shapes that efficiently and memorably communicate each flower's architecture to young eyes; at the same time, she's able to convey the softness of a petal and the radiant layers of color that exist in a single blossom. She underscores the simple beauty of her paintings with a stunning book design that plays down its own sophistication: ornamental capitals subtly accentuate the flower and insect compositions; the white ground is in perfect balance with the fields of gorgeously chosen color. The look is as fresh as a daisy. Ages 3-7. (Feb.)