'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 19 September 2013

Review: Flight of the Honey Bee

Did you know that bees can smell 'in stereo', with each antenna smelling a different direction? Or that they need to harvest nectar from over two million flowers to make enough honey to fill a jar?

These are just two of the remarkable facts that I learned from this fascinating book, part of Walker Books' Nature Storybooks series, and it's clear that the concept and structure of the book have been very well thought out.

On one level this is a beautifully illustrated picture book that tells the story of Scout, a bee out on a mission to search for flowers. Along the way, she's buffeted by the wind, swooped on by a blackbird, seeks shelter from a storm and is attacked by a wasp. But despite all this, she still manages to find a new field of flowers and make it safely back to the hive to tell the harvester bees about her discovery.

On another level, this is a wonderful introduction for young children to a very important environmental issue. Bees are in danger of dying out. Without them to pollinate our plants, crops will fail and our planet's food supply will be placed in jeopardy. In fact, bees are now regarded by many as the most important creature for life on Earth. At the end of Scout's story, this issue is highlighted in a call to 'Save the bees!' and a few ideas are given for how we can help them in our own gardens.

The author, Raymond Huber, has been a science teacher, gardener and beekeeper, and his knowledge and experience shine through in both the carefully crafted story and the fascinating facts that appear on each page. Illustrator Brian Lovelock is a scientist, so every bee is precisely rendered, creating a visual feast that brings to life Huber's words. The result is a book that everyone — young and old — can enjoy as well as learn from.

Title: Flight of the Honey Bee
Author: Raymond Huber
Illustrator: Brian Lovelock
Publisher: Walker Books, $27.95 RRP
Publication Date: August 2013
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781921529665
For ages: 5+
Type: Picture Book