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Taking Care of Bees-ness

These Bees Count is reviewed by Rita Zobayan. 

These Bees Count written by Alison Formento with art by Sarah Snow ($16.99, Albert Whitman & Co., ages 4 and up) is a delightful and informative read that teaches children about the lives of bees and how they are important to plants and people. It’s also a counting book.  (Notice the clever double meaning of the title.)

                  We join Mr. Tate’s multicultural elementary school class as they go on a field trip to the Busy Bee Farm, where Farmer Ellen teaches students the ins and outs of a bee’s world. The typical concerns and questions that children have regarding bees are cleverly interwoven into the narrative of the book.

                  Eli held onto Mr. Tate. “Bees sting.”/“Only when they’re afraid or angry,” said Farmer Ellen. “And beekeepers always dress for safety before visiting the hives.”

                  Amy knelt to watch a bee on a clover blossom. “Bees sure are busy.”/”Yes,” said Farmer Ellen. “And without bee pollen, crops wouldn’t grow, and we wouldn’t have food to eat.”

                  The middle section of this 32-page book focuses on the bees as they buzz around the meadow, describing their activities and counting their day away.

                  One by one, we zip up high, buzzing through the bright blue sky. We fly over two waving dandelions, inviting us in. We find three wild strawberries bursting with sweetness.

                  The students (and the readers) learn many things during their visit, including how pollination works, how nectar becomes honey, and how honey is extracted from the honeycombs. The information is written clearly and simply so that young children can grasp the concepts.

The book ends with “the buzz on bees,” which is essentially factual information. This section covers the role of bees in crop growth, the different “dances” bees perform, facts about hives and their inhabitants, different types of bees, and Colony Collapse Disorder.                 

                  Sarah Snow’s artwork is bright and detailed. It catches the reader’s eye and conveys the colors and images of a productive farm. By using the two-dimensional collage technique, Ms. Snow did a wonderful job of capturing the viewer’s attention and complementing the text.

                  These Bees Count is a great addition to a home or school library.  Click here for a helpful link to a teacher’s guide.

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