Let's start by saying that I love bees! I have been absolutely fascinated by them for as long as I can remember. My family have call...

The Ultimate List of Books About Bees

Friday, July 06, 2018 BookBairn 1 Comments

Let's start by saying that I love bees! I have been absolutely fascinated by them for as long as I can remember. My family have called me 'bumble' or 'bumblebee' for my whole life and most people who know me will have noticed that I buzz around like a busy bee all the time. I admire their workmanship, loyalty, dedication and, of course, their unique fashion sense.

And it won't be a surprise for me to tell you, as it has become so well-known that our humble little bees are under threat and need lots of love and care as our planet and eco system rely on them so heavily. So what can we do to help them? Plant beautiful flowers, rescue flailing bees with sugar water. But also teach our children to treasure these little treasures. And of course my solution to that is to read books (of course!). So I've done some really hard work and collated the ultimate list of books about bees (and I've even included a few that I just couldn't get my hands on yet - that's how thorough I've been!). Here are they bee books to buzz about:

The Book of Bees by Piotr Socha

I'm starting with this one because it is, unashamedly, my favourite! I love it for many reasons but primarily because the artwork is just incredible! It's a huge book meaning that it's best read whilst stretched out on the floor and it gives loads and loads of page space to incredibly detailed illustrations. The top 7/8ths of each page is dedicated to a picture packed full of artwork - so much time and love has been put into it and the bottom 1/8th of the page has lots of fascinating facts about my favourite little creatures. Because it's primarily illustrations - it's great for readers of all ages as you can interpret the illustrations and discuss them - but the actual facts at the bottom of the page are probably best for slightly older children and adults. There is also a cool newspaper section at the back of the book which is fun bite-size chunks of information. But mostly I love it because it’s a beauty! A bee-uty! (I promise this will bee the only bee-pun in this list!)

Nature's Tiny Miracle: Bee by Britta Teckentrup and Patricia Hegarty

Britta Teckentrup has created a magical world for little readers. It is completely enchanting. Using an intricate collage style, rainbow-hues and luscious colours, she has created fields of wonderful flora and fauna to tell the story of the flight of the bumblebees. Every page is delight! The die-cuts throughout the book engage little fingers with exploring the pages and they are cutely hexagonal adding to the artistry of the images. This book is not only a work of art but it also shares the plight of nature's unsung hero, the bee. Patricia Hegarty poetically tells the story of the vital role that bees play in our environment. In rhyming couplets she brings to life the bees to-ing and fro-ing as the bee sweeps through the fields gathering pollen. We did a full review on this one back when BookBairn was very little so check out the review and those cute baby pictures here.

What on Earth? Bees by Andrea Quigley and Pau Morgan

Part non-fiction and part activity book this is such a fun one for helping young readers understand about the world of bees. It is buzzing with bright illustrations and fact-filled pages as well as activities such as a board game (which teaches the life cycle of a bee), instructions on how to do the bee waggle dance, as well as activities like how to make a 'nectar cafe' and creating flower mosaics. I also love how the history of bees is told in a story format which is a great way to sit down and enjoy this book together. The bright illustrations and mix of non-fiction facts with cool activities and experiments makes this such a brilliant book for nature lovers!

Bees, Bugs and Butterflies by Ben Raskin

This is a brilliant book for finding out more about all the bugs in your garden and what they are doing. Supported by the Soil Association and endorsed by The Friend of the Earth - this book will help you find out all the essential facts about pests and pollinators and what you can do to tempt them into the garden. And don't worry about the predators: you can also find out who eats who and why pests can be garden heroes too! I love this one because it comes with pull-out visual guides and posters, stickers, a board game, and a beetle mask as well as activity suggestions. The illustrations are mixed with photographs and the text is a bit denser so it's better for older readers too.

The Bee Book by Charlotte Milner

This book is a fantastic example of how children's non-fiction is becoming more design-led! Packed full of infographics and illustrations, the information in this book is really easy to digest. It includes all the standard features of a non-fiction book that we teach children about in school: contents, index, glossary, diagrams, etc. But it does it in a really cool accessible way! Using lots of bright yellow in the illustrations it is an incredibly cheerful book. And of the ones I've mentioned here I found this was the one that I kept spotting fascinating facts as I flipped through it's pages. And this is the one that I found to be really good at looking at with BookBairn because she could understand the basics of the facts because the inforgraphics were very clear!

Some buzzing bee stories:

Little Honey Bee by Jane Ormes

This is a beautiful book sharing with little ones the beautiful flora and fauna that surrounds the honeybees throughout the different seasons. On each page there is a rhyming phrase counting the number of flowers in the garden and the illustrations are littered with little bees to spot. Beautifully illustrated with delicate attention to detail and including under each flap (of which there are several on a page) little readers can discover another creature or plant and under the final flap is a wonderful beehive which you can explore inside. Accompanied by a poetic phrase on each page, this a beautifully magical exploration of a garden's journey across the seasons.

When the Bees Buzzed Off by Lula Bell and Stephen Bennett

In this delightful story the bees have buzzed off and it's up to the other minibeasts to get them back as without them who is there to pollinate the fruit and flowers? Littered with lift-the-flaps and combining a narrative story with facts about bees this picture book is better aimed at slightly older readers (5+). It's perfect for minibeast fans and encourage children to explore the natural world, it's such a wonderful story that readers will want to be part of. The illustrations are bright and engaging and the characters are cute and quirky. A great book to remind us of the importance of those black and yellow striped beasties! 

What did Busy Bee see? by Lemon Ribbon

This is a wonderful book for the littlest reader in your house to start their fascination with bees. It's full of finger trails and die-cuts for little fingers to explore and stars a little bee and you follow it's journey across the town passing lots of interesting things along the way. There are so many things in the illustrations that you can talk about with your little one that it's a great vocabulary builder without being as basic as a word primer book. A brilliant introduction to bees!

Bee-&-Me by Alison Jay

A wordless picture book this is a story about a little girl who befriends a bee and goes on a journey of discovery about conservation of our bees. Primarily it is a tale of friendship as the bee and the girl go off exploring together but it also introduces ideas about ecology and our natural world. With stunning illustrations, the story is entirely brought to life and it's such a wonderful book to explore together and for little ones to read on their own.

The Bumblebear by Nadia Shireen

This is one of our favourite library borrows recently and we enjoy reading the story of Norman the bear who loves loves loves honey. In a bid to find easy access to honey, he dresses as a bee and joins Bee School, but one little bee is suspicious of this oversized classmate. He's rumbled and gets thrown out of bee school until a really big bad bear shows up and the bees need his help. This is an adorable illustrated story that will make you laugh out loud but some of the scenes also have great information about the life of bees neatly woven into the story. A perfect introduction to bee loving!

Bee-Wigged by Cece Bell

If you met a giant human-sized bee you might be rather startled, and slightly concerned about the prospect of a giant-bee-sized sting! And that's Jerry's plight. (The plight of the bumblebee if you will.) All Jerry wants to do is make friends. And one day he happens across a discarded wig, pops it on his head, and gets mistaken for a schoolboy. He becomes a pillar of the community until one day his wig is swept from his head and they all run in fear. But when a surprise voice speaks out for Jerry the soon realise not to be frightened at all. And that surprise voice - was the guinea pig that Jerry had been wearing on his head the whole time! A lovely story that will make you laugh out loud!

Some other recommendations that we don't have but are on our wish list:

That's not my Bee by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells

These touch and feel books are always fabulous and I can't wait to add this to our collection when I'm next having a book splurge!

Why do We Need Bees? by Katie Daynes and Christine Pym

I love the look of this book and it's straightforward fact telling! The illustrations look really cute and I love that it's a slightly smaller size and a board book making it more accessible for younger readers!

The Honeybee by Kirsten Hall and Isabel Arsenault

I saw this in the bookshop recently and the illustrations are absolutely incredible and is a great celebration of the humble bumble and it's at the top of my to-buy list! I hope they release a paperback edition too!

Being a Bee by Jenny Johnson and Lucy Davey 

Beautifully illustrated this one looks incredible and I can't wait to read it!

Thank you Bees by Toni Yuly

Described as "a very simple non-fiction picture book for babies and toddlers about connectedness, with bright, colourful illustrations" I have requested a copy of this for review but it didn't arrive in time unfortunately. I'll let you know what we think when it arrives.

A Busy Day for Bee by Olivier Latyk

I really love this series of books, as does The Wee Page Turner, but we hadn't spotted this one about bees until recently. Using clever paper engineering little ones can explore the garden and learn about emotions as they read this one. We've added it to our wish list! 

Phew! That was a long list but as you can see I've tried to be really thorough to do justice to our little wonder bees! If I've missed off a good one please do let me know so that I can add it to the list!

Bee-utiful Books! Enjoy learning more about this fascinating little creatures,
Kim aka Bumblebee xx

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Disclaimer: this post features books which were sent free for review, the majority of which were at my request after deciding to write this post, as well as books that we bought ourselves and borrowed from the library too. Words and opinions are all my own!

1 comment:

  1. BookBairn has lots of plants in her garden which attract bees including a giant lavender plant. We should all try to have a more bee-friendly garden. Lots of nice books in this review.