Begin with a Bee – Liza Ketchum, Jacqueline Briggs Martin and Phyllis Root, illustrated by Claudia McGehee, University of Minnesota Press, (9781517908041), 2021
Format: Paperback ARC
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5+
What did you like about the book? The rusty-patched bumblebee is the first bee to appear on the U.S Fish and Wildlife list of Endangered Species. This extraordinary book, with illustrations created in earth tones and similar to Mary Azarian’s wood cuts, shows us exactly what the bees’ life is like above and below ground. Three well-known authors give us the complete life history of this bee. The tiny queen (less than one inch in size) winters in a hole in the ground. Her little body contains everything needed to create a whole colony of the coming year’s bees. When she emerges from hibernation she feeds constantly on nectar and pollen. When she finds a nest, she lays eggs and sits on them until they hatch into little white grubs. She feeds them all herself as they grow, make cocoons, become pupae and after weeks are finally bees – worker bees, all female. As the worker bees clean the nest, some find pollen to feed the queen’s new larvae. The newer bees are males who go out to mate. As the cycle continues all but the new queen bee die; she will winter underground waiting to begin the next season.
End pages explain the rusty-patched bumblebee in more detail, explaining pollination and the precarious state that bees now face due to pesticides and habitat loss. “Ten things we can all do to help” is also included.
Anything you did not like about the book? No.
To whom would you recommend this book? This is a good one-on-one choice where it could be examined over and over again but would also be perfect for a springtime read aloud for kindergarten through 3rd grade or even higher.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries and parents to read to their children.
Where would you shelve it? 599.799
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, even if you might not be interested in bees – as you should.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Manager, Youth Services Book Review
Date of Review: 3/22/2021
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