cover image The Honeybee

The Honeybee

Kirsten Hall, illus. by Isabelle Arsenault. Atheneum, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4814-6997-5

The plight of the endangered honeybee is the raison d’être of this story, Hall (The Jacket) explains in a concluding note, though it’s a long and twisty flight to reach it. Readers hear the first bee (“It’s closer, it’s coming, it’s buzzing, it’s humming...”) before they see it arrive and land on a flower in search of nectar. The singsong verse is aflutter with strained rhyming: “There now, it drills now,/ the bee sips and spills now,/ there now, it swills now, it sits oh-so-still now./ There now, it fills now, it’s back to the hill now....” After the bee’s buzzing summons others to mealtime, they all swarm back to the hive to begin the honey-making process, whose description may need translating by adults: “We suck out the nectar, we suck it straight through./ Chew, chew—we’re changing its makeup, we’re giving the nectar a chemical shake-up.” Dominated by golden hues punctuated with splashes of neon yellow, the airy mixed-media art by Arsenault (Cloth Lullaby) helps kids decipher the goings-on, in and out of the hive. Tips on how to help preserve the bee population follow the story. Ages 4–8. [em](May) [/em]