Bruno the Beekeeper: A Honey Primer by Aneta Františka Holasová, translated by Andrew Lass

Bruno the Beekeeper: A Honey Primer 

by Aneta Františka Holasová

Published by Candlewick Press

Bruno the Beekeeper: A Honey Primer is a delightful surprise! The title and the charming honey-hued illustrations give a picture book vibe to what is truly a primer on beekeeping in this Czech picture book, originally published in 2013. With Bruno the bear as main character, Holasová crafts a narrative around a season of bees, starting in the late Fall. As Bruno and Grandma (a human, curiously, who, along with Bruno, is sometimes seen small enough to fit inside the hive) tend to their hives in a pastoral setting, scientific diagrams and more playful, but still technical illustrations give the bees personality, like a two page spread showing the 40-day life of a worker bee that ends with a tiny tombstone. Facts about the bees themselves are fascinating, but action surrounding the bees in their hive - and the human work that goes into helping to sustain the hive - is truly eye opening. From feeding the bees in the Spring with a dough made from sugar and honey to marking the queen and maintaining the supers, the parts of the hive that are added on during honey production time. Holasová ends her book with a unique gingerbread cookie recipe that calls for 1 1/2 cups of honey, rye flour and a spice mix (that Grandma grinds herself) that includes just a pinch of ginger along with fennel and anise seeds.

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