Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Buzzworthy Picture Book August 10 for 10 #pb10for10

Six years have come and gone but participating in the annual Picture Book 10 for 10 is a highlight every year for me.  People who love books gather their favorites of a year or favorites revolving around a theme.  This yearly celebration was created by Mandy Robeck and Cathy Mere and we extend to them much gratitude. If this is something in which you would like to participate Cathy explains how it works here.

Some years I agonize about what books to select in general or if there is a important theme.  For my first year, I shared ten plus two of my favorite alphabet books from my personal collection.  (I think it might be time to update that list.)  Many times alphabet books are some of the first books read aloud.  They need to reflect the best kind of writing and illustrations.

In 2013 I shifted toward the best dog books.  My sweet Xena choose those titles from my collection numbering more than two hundred fifty.  That year I used an application called Learni.st to host the choices.  This can now only be accessed by using the app rather than the website.  If you use the app Learni.st and search under Xena the book list, August Ten for Ten Xena's Favorite Dog Books, will appear.

For year three my list revolved around books to be used as companions to my first list. They are about counting and numbers.  Apparently I have a hard time counting as I have eleven titles.

Each year there are books I wish to add to my theme for 2015.  These books bring calm and peace any time of the day but bedtime, sleep and sweet dreams are precious.  Like dinosaurs robots command the attention of many readers.  The interest for them is a constant.  In 2016 I choose titles with robots as main characters.  Last year my attention turned to friendship.  How we model and mirror relationships to the children in our lives leaves lasting impressions.  In this topsy-turvy world we need people whose loyalty is constant.  I selected ten plus one titles.  Spirit Xena and my wild child Mulan each selected a book. (Stopping at ten is not easy for me.  The number thirteen is lucky in this list.)

For 2018 I supply a list which has importance not only to me but for everyone on this planet.  Our honeybees are in trouble.  It's only been this last week, I have seen any at all.  All bees seem to be in a frenzy to gather nectar and pollen.  You can hear their buzz among the wild flowers and in gardens.  These are books I will be sharing with my story time patrons in the next two weeks.  A link attached to most of the titles takes you to my full recommendation.

1.  Buzzy the bumblebee (Sleeping Bear Press, October 1, 1999) written by Denise Brennan-Nelson with illustrations by Michael glenn Monroe

One sunny day, in a beautiful garden, there sat a bumblebee named Buzzy.

Can you imagine believing yourself to be able to do something, having done it every single day of your life, and then to suddenly be told you are incapable of doing it?  This is what happens to Buzzy.  He reads that

"Bumblebees weren't made to fly."

Sitting on top of a flower and how to get down is only his first problem.  He also happens to be far from his home.  What Buzzy discovers is what we all need to discover.

A teacher's guide is provided by the publisher.

2.  The Bear's Song (Chronicle Books, September 17, 2013) written and illustrated by Benjamin Chaud

Deep in his den, Papa Bear starts to snore.  Winter whistles through the forest. Hibernation has begun.

Little Bear is not in the den.  Oh, no.  He is merrily following the sound of a single bee.  Despite his youth, he has learned that a bee will lead him to honey.

With an instinct as old as time, Papa Bear suddenly wakes knowing Little Bear has vacated the premises.  Searching left, searching right; Papa Bear can't get the errant youngster in sight.  From the forest he runs until he finds himself among streets lined with buildings and filled with people, lots of people.

Loaded with details and humor, Little Bear searches for a final seasonal sweet treat as Papa Bear searches for him.

3.  Bees in the City (Tilbury House Publishers, November 17, 2017) written by Andrea Cheng with illustrations by Sarah McMenemy

"Aunt Celine's honey is the best in the world," I say, licking the honey off my fingers.

Papa puts a spoonful of the golden honey into his tea.  "That's because she has the best helper in the world."

If you thought beekeeping is only for those living in the country, this book highlights the story of a boy and his aunt working together to save a hive of bees.  His ingenuity and determination and her willingness to preserve the bees are a winning combination. Friends in his apartment building and supportive adults highlight the advantage of urban beekeeping.  Two pages of author notes further enhance this title.

4.  The Honeybee (Atheneum Books For Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division, May 8, 2018) written by Kirsten Hall with illustrations by Isabelle Arsenault

A field..
A tree.
Climb it and see . . .

Fields of flowers stretch to the horizon.  In the stillness of watching, a soft sound floats on the air.  It's getting closer and louder.  It's like hearing one of the Earth's heartbeats.  It's a honeybee!

Its four wings, two in the front and two in the back, are creating a welcome song.  It searches in circles and loops.  It finally succumbs to the lure of the ultimate flower.  A flower filled with the sweetness of nectar.  First a sip, then the gathering begins.

Marvelous to read for the lovely words and illustrations this book is also a loving tribute to these necessary and amazing creatures.  A final page is a letter Kirsten Hall has written to readers listing the attributes of honeybees and how we can help them.

5. Bee & Me: A Story About Friendship (Old Barn Books, April 7, 2016) written and illustrated by Alison Jay

This story without words is a contemporary fable with a lasting message.  We begin with a wide view of a city scene, as if we are flying above the busy street lined with buildings on either side.  A bee loop de loops into an open window.  Needless to say, it startles a girl reading on her bed much like the bee in the author's studio.

Whether it was destiny or an accident, the arrival of the bee in Alison Jay's studio ignited a story in this nature lover's heart.  From her pen the concept is one of the value of caring for those smaller and in need.  As the bee grows, so does the friendship, blossoming into a shared desire to make their world a better place.

 This book is a heartwarming tale of compassion for each other and our world.  We learn along with the girl the value of every single living thing.  We can see how caring encourages growth.  After the final image, Alison Jay includes a Bee Aware! page listing things to do to help bees and provide them protection and preservation.

6. Please Please the Bees (Albert Whitman & Company, April 11, 2017) written and illustrated by Gerald Kelley

Benedict was a creature of habit.  He liked to do the same thing every day.

His mornings, afternoons and evenings were marked by his favorite meals and beverages.  In-between he could be seen playing his violin, knitting, riding his scooter or reading.  Life was good for this honey-loving bear until it wasn't.

The bees decide to hold a strike.  Benedict's life without honey is not worth considering.  Choices and actions are needed.  This book has several layers which beg for contemplation and discussion after a read aloud.

7.  The King of Bees (Peachtree Publishers, April 1, 2018) written by Lester L. Laminack with illustrations by Jim LaMarche

Henry and Aunt Lilla lived deep in the Lowcountry, where South Carolina reaches out and mingles with the saltwater to form tidal creeks and marshes.  Sometimes Henry felt like the whole world ended at the far edge of that water.

Included in the landscape of Henry's world beyond his home, the garden, hen house and shed were beehives.  For the bees Henry felt a genuine affection.  He longed to help his Aunt with the bees.  She finally agreed he could watch her work.  Clothed in her bee suit, wearing her hat with a net and keeping the smoker nearby, she spoke softly to them.

An impending danger puts Henry in a position to help but he can't foresee the results.  This title is for one-on-one reading or reading to a group.  It speaks to the love of family and of nature. In an author's note Lester L. Laminack talks about the premise for this book and his lifelong attraction to bees.

8.  The Bee Tree (Philomel Books, April 21, 1993) written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco

"I'm tired of reading, Grampa."  Mary Ellen sighed.  "I'd rather be outdoors running and playing."

"So you don't feel like reading, eh?  Feel like running, do you? Then I expect this is just the right time to find a bee tree!"  he said, taking down a jar and putting on his lucky hat.

The duo are outdoors in no time at all collecting three bees in the jar.  When the first is let out, they take off running to follow it.  As they weave their way through town, first one, then another person starts to follow them.  Soon a group is as eager as they are for the taste of honey.  You might be surprised what Grampa does at the close of the day but his answer will have your reader's heart soaring like a bee going home.

9.  Bear and Bee (Disney Hyperion, March 12, 2013) written and illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier

This title shows how the right amount of understanding can fill more than an empty stomach.

Moving about as the snow melts, putting on his red sandals, Bear gets ready to venture out.  By the time he leaves his cozy den, stretching to greet the sunny day, flowers are blooming among the green grasses. A treat is hanging from a nearby tree branch.

"I'm hungry," says Bear.

There is one key thing keeping Bear from going to the tree.  Even though he has never seen a bee, he fears them.  Ensuing conversations between Bear and Bee slowly reveal the truth.  This is a truly huggable book about the relationship, real and imagined, between two of Earth's valued creatures.

10. Honey (Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, March 27, 2018) written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein

It was his second year.
"I'm back!" he said.

After his long winter nap, Bear was hungry.  As he was looking for a meal or even a snack, his mind thought of honey.  Every single aspect of honey, every descriptive phrase, floated through his conscience.  He had to have honey!

As we follow Bear from place to place, activity to activity, throughout the summer we come to understand his desire for finding honey.  David's depictions of Bear will find a place in your heart.  His words will have you reaching for the nearest jar of honey and longing just a little bit more for the soothing days of summer.

It's been a hot and dry summer here and for many places in our country and continent but it is a season necessary for the cycle of life.  I hope these books will promote discussions and research.  I hope these books will have all of us working a little bit harder for bees, especially honeybees.  Happy reading to all of you.


  1. They all look good but I'm really interested in reading Bees in the City, have to add it to my tbr list!

    1. I am so glad you enjoy the list. I think you will like Bees in the City as much as I do. It gave me something to think about as far as beekeeping goes.

  2. Awesome list, Margie. I've read a few and love Please, Please The Bees, will put the others on my list! Glad you posted!

    1. Thank you for stopping in to look, Linda. I am still finding bee books. I am already working on the 10for10 NF list for February 2019.

  3. What a fun, unique theme, and a great list of titles. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I love this theme! Thank you for sharing, Margie!

  5. What a smart idea for a collection! My youngest daughter just returned from college and she is all about the bees. I'm surprised she hasn't started a hive in our backyard. These books will be perfect to share. There are some "new to me" titles I have to check out. As always, I'm so glad you took the time to join us. I look forward to your list each year.

  6. Oh Margie - indeed an important theme. I have been happily listening to the buzz off certain flowers and bushes as I weed in my garden and appreciating that those bees are there. Thank you for this list!

  7. Thanks for the list. I'll be working with an instructor this Fall about bees and the crisis they're in. Your suggestions will be helpful.
    Apples with Many Seeds