I love bees. Everything about them amazes me. So I am very happy to have not one but two wonderful picture books about bees to share with you - Thank You Bees, written and illustrated by Toni Yuly and Bee & Me by Alison Jay, a longtime favorite illustrator of mine.
Thank You Bees by Toni Yuly is a beautiful, simple meditation of gratitude and connection that you and little listeners will read so many times you will memorize it. Thank You Bees begins, "Sun gives us light. / Thank you, sun. / Bees give us honey. / Thank you, bees." These words are accompanied by illustrations that show the joys that come from these producers and products, creators and creations, ending with a thank you to Earth for giving us a home.
Bee & Me by Alison Jay is a wordless picture book that sometimes reads like a graphic novel. A story of friendship and adventure, Bee & Me is really a book about ecology, the natural world and all that bees contribute, with an afterword by the author that encourages readers to, "BEE AWARE!" and learn how to help preserve these endangered insects.
Bee & Me begins with a two-page view of a cityscape, narrowing in to a bedroom in an apartment building where a girl is reading a book. When a bee flies into her room, she has the reaction so many have - she screams then tries to swat it. The bee makes a plea for his life and ends up languishing, trapped under a glass. The girl reads a book about bees and begins to care for her little prisoner, eventually setting him free. A thunderstorm returns the bee to the girl's windowsill, where she cares for him again and, the bee growing girl-sized, the two strike up a friendship.
Traveling on the bee's back, the pair head off to find a field of flowers - and pollen - which they collect, sprinkling it over the city upon their return. The girl and the bee plant a window box then part ways. The seasons pass and, when spring returns, so does the bee - to a city covered in flowers.
Jay's illustrations are slightly retro, with a gentle palette perfectly suited to bees and fields of flowers. Hopefully all young readers know all that bees contribute to our world and that they should not be harmed. And, after reading Bee & Me, hopefully readers will plant some lavender, sunflowers, sweet peas or mint, a few of the plants that bees love best!
Source: Review Copy