cover image Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera

Candace Fleming, illus. by Eric Rohmann. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4285-0

“Tongues lick./ Antennae touch.” The brief but complex life of a Apis Mellifera—a worker honeybee—is explored with depth in this richly detailed picture book. Fleming uses lyrical language to describe just how jam-packed Apis’s short life is—her jobs include cleaning the nursery, feeding “grub-like larvae,” tending the queen, building comb, food handling, and guarding the hive. “At last, on the twenty-fifth day of her life... she leaps from the nest and... FLIES!” Apis lives only 10 days more: “She has visited thirty-thousand flowers. She has collected enough nectar to make one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey.” Though “Apis stills,” Fleming renders her humble life a mesmerizing wonder. Rohmann’s realistic oil-on-paper illustrations artfully capture close-up details such as the glisten of transparent wings and the fine hairs covering a bee’s body. An ending schematic identifies bee body parts, while supplemental materials offer more facts and details about helping the insects. Ages 6–9. (Feb.)