Review of Bee

Bee Bee
by Charlotte Voake; illus. by the author
Preschool    Candlewick    40 pp.    g
6/22    978-1-5362-2045-2    $18.99

A human boy makes the acquaintance of (anthropomorphized) honeybees Beatrice and Bella, who give him a magic pair of striped trousers and a furry jacket that shrink him to the size of a bee and allow him to fly. The trio heads inside the ­beehive, where it’s hot and dark but smells “LOVELY” (of honey, Beatrice explains). The boy meets the queen (who likes his suit) and witnesses another bee doing the “waggle dance,” giving flower-finding directions. Everyone flies off, eventually locating a patch of strawberries whose flowers contain the delicious, sugary nectar the bees will take home and use to make honey. In the city, however, it’s hard to find flowers, so when the adventure is over and the boy is his regular size again, he plants lots of seeds and flowers. “Because every flower counts…for every little bee!” The message is clear but not at all ­heavy-handed, and the ­magic-transformation element is ­child-appealing, both in the text and in the simple, bold, cut-paper and ink illustrations. The boy is, delightfully, always recognizably a child in a bee suit. Particularly entertaining is the illustration in which a little girl notices him flying toward a dandelion growing in a crack in the sidewalk and tells her mother, who in classic adult fashion is too focused on catching the bus to look.

From the July/August 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Martha V. Parravano
Martha V. Parravano
Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

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