Quote of the Month

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

Monday, February 10, 2020

February Nonfiction Picture Book Ten For Ten---Bees. Beetles. Bugs.

This represents the eighth year of the February Nonfiction Picture Book 10 for 10 #nf10for10.  This event continues through the efforts of Julie Balen (Twitter), an English teacher at Connecting to Learn, Cathy Mere (Twitter), a teacher leader, at Reflect & Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy Robek (Twitter), a second grade teacher, at Enjoy and Embrace Learning . I have previously participated featuring titles dinosaurs, individuals whose lives made a difference in human history, and birds.

On August 18, 2018 in the Picture Book August 10 for 10 #pb10for10 by subject was books featuring beesSince that date I have been looking for the best nonfiction titles about honeybees.  I have five here which I believe are excellent.  To round out the collection I chose five other notable insect books.

The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees:  A Scientific Mystery (Millbrook Press, August 1, 2013) by Sandra Markle

During this past spring and summer plants never having flowered before were covered in blossoms. Swarms of honeybees busily flew back and forth gathering nectar and pollen.  Sounds of their humming drifted on the air like the best kind of symphony.

Each year concern for the well-being of honeybees worldwide is ever increasing.  The front cover of Time magazine on August 19, 2013 featured an article titled A World Without Bees.  Our survival is closely entwined with their survival. Like the best kind of detective, Sandra Markle gathers clues, presenting readers with pertinent facts.

On a warm day in October 2006, Dave Hackenberg went to check on his workers.
Hackenberg is a beekeeper, and his workers are millions of honeybees.

What Hackenberg discovered was shocking.  Thousands of his bees were missing.  They had disappeared without a trace.

My full summary and recommendation for this title is here.

Bee: A Peek-Through Picture Book (Doubleday Books For Young Readers, January 31, 2017) written and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup

Page turn by page turn, die-cuts reveal layers as we follow a honeybee during one day.

Dawn is breaking on a brand-new day,
And in the meadow, poppies sway.

A bee appears, striped black and gold.
A wonder of nature is about to unfold.

A  complete description of the book is at the publisher's website.

At Brightly you can read about this title and the other titles in the Peek-Through Picture Book series.

Bees: A Honeyed History (Abrams Books for Young Readers, March 28, 2017) text by Wojciech Grajkowski, translation by Agnes Mened-Gayraud and illustrations by Piotr Socha

A through exploration of bees in information and images is presented here.  There is an abundance of details and humor in many of the illustrations.  This title has a large format, 10.5 by 14.5 trim size.  Every page turn, two pages are dedicated to a new topic.

Honey bees have existed for at least a hundred million years!  In other words, bees were already around when dinosaurs roamed Earth.  How can we be so sure?  It's all thanks to the discovery of a few flying insects fossilized in amber.  Some scientists believe that bees appeared even earlier, some 120 million years ago.  This was when plants were just beginning to develop their cleverest invention---the flower.

At the publisher's website you can read a thorough description of the book.  At Thames & Hudson you can view interior images.

They are rarely an inch long but can fly fifteen miles per hour.  Their wings are known to beat more than 200 times per second.  This is why we can hear them buzzing as they move from place to place.

We don't see them in the winter months as snow covers the ground, icy winds blow, and temperatures are chilly.  In fact, as soon as the temperatures fall below fifty degrees, bees return to the hive surrounding the queen.  With the movement of their wings they can heat their home and keep the queen warm.  They get their energy from the honey they've stored.

In her newest release, Beehive (A Paula Wiseman Book, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, January 7, 2020), Jorey Hurley speaks to readers in the simplest of terms, single words, about the formation of a honeybee home and how its inhabitants flourish.


My full summary and recommendation for this title is here.

Sometimes the life of a single being is so glorious, it takes your breath away.  The more you know about the days of their life, the more your admiration and respect increases.  You realize every moment of the hours of their existence is orchestrated for a greater good.  It's about survival not only for them, but for every other living being.

As humans, the more we take notice of the value of these beings, the better able we are to protect and preserve their place in our natural world.  Upon the first reading (and every reading thereafter) of Honeybee: The Busy Life Of Apis Mellifera (Neal Porter BooksHoliday House, February 4, 2020) written by Candace Fleming with art by Eric Rohmann, readers find themselves immersed in the life of a valued member of the hive, a female worker bee.  We are there for every day of her life and we are humbled by her accomplishments.

One summer morning deep in the nest,

a brand-new honeybee
through the wax cap of her solitary cell and into . . .
a teeming, trembling flurry.

My full summary and recommendation for this title is here.

As I may have stated before, every single one of us who has found the right book for the right reader at the right time knows, without a doubt, that books change lives.  From our own personal experience we treasure those titles evoking a change in our perception, adjusting our levels of tolerance, and leading us to definitions of absolute truths.  Those books which offer us the chance to change are not always works of fiction.

When I hold a book written and illustrated by Steve Jenkins in my hands, I am certain of being enriched in ways I am not expecting.  That being said, nothing could have prepared me for the impact of reading his newest title, The Beetle Book (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, April 3, 2012).  Stunning visuals accentuated with astounding facts clearly place this volume in the category as one of the finest nonfiction books of 2012.

Line up every kind of plant and animal
on Earth . . .

. . . and one of every four will be a beetle.

My full summary and recommendation for this title is here.

Early this morning a flash of movement had me looking up and glancing out the picture window.  I saw her flying around as if trying to get my attention.  Was the lady trying to send me a message?  Light glowed through her tiny transparent wings. Before I could get close to her, she was gone.

The lilacs have blossomed and faded, the peonies are ready to burst forth in all their sweet-smelling glory and the lily shoots are about three inches tall.  Regardless of all this floral fanfare, she was the first ladybug of the spring to present herself to me.  In A Beetle Is Shy (Chronicle Books, April 5, 2016) the newest collaboration between author Dianna Hutts Aston and illustrator Sylvia Long, the Convergent Lady Beetle is one of twenty-eight featured insects.

A beetle is shy.
It begins its life inside an egg...
soft and wingless, tender,
protected by the roots of trees
and the undersides of leaves.

My full summary and recommendation for this title is here.

With the advent of lots of rain and the warm temperatures, summer is in full bloom in northern Michigan.  There is an abundance of critters of all shapes and sizes and flowers, shrubs and trees in the wild.  Gardeners are giddy with their flourishing vegetables, annuals and perennials.  The air is literally humming with the sounds of life, buzzing honeybees, chirping crickets, melodious birdsong and the unmistakable huffs of startled rabbits and deer.

The more we know about those creatures sharing this planet with us, the better we can protect and respect them.  Author illustrator Owen Davey released two new titles in his popular series about animals, Bonkers About Beetles (Flying Eye Books, May 1, 2018 UK and Nobrow, June 5, 2018 US) (National Science Teachers Association2019 Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students K-12) and Fanatical About Frogs (Flying Eye Books, March 1, 2019 UK and Nobrow, June 18, 2019 US).  Both books are entertaining and informative with stunning images.

Beetles are a group of insects.  They have six
legs, three body segments and two feelers sticking
out of their heads.  Beetles are different from
most other insects in that their forewings form
a hard or leathery protective case over their backs.

My full summary and recommendation for this title is here.

With the return of warmer weather joining the chorus of birdsong is the buzzing, humming and chirping of insects.  Creeping, crawling, jumping and flying through our world, integral to the completed whole, their place is assured whether deemed friend or foe.  Grateful we are then for the assistance provided by the small flash of red seen moving among our plants.

With more than 170 nonfiction books to her credit author/illustrator, Gail Gibbons, has most recently turned her attention to the world of Ladybugs (Holiday House, February 1, 2012).  Her never ending quest for answers to questions, her thirst for knowledge, educates readers about this popular bug.  No insect has claimed such appeal on clothing, jewelry, shoes, fabric, as a food decoration, costume design or even as fingernail decorations as have ladybugs.

A flower gently sways in the breeze.  A small bug is looking for food.  It's a ladybug.

My full summary and recommendation for this title is here.

The universe has a gift sometimes for bringing humor into a situation.  It's not every day you walk into your kitchen to run water into the sink and have the children's tune The Ants Go Marching One By One pop into your head.  This is exactly what happened yesterday and again this morning.  It seems lack of rain was bringing the wee critters into my home.  I politely asked them to leave.  Mother Nature replied to my request by providing a rain shower which ended the situation entirely.

Our planet is swarming with insects and invertebrates that make their homes inside and outside our residences.  For the most part sharing space with them is acceptable unless they create dangerous conditions for us.  The Big Book of Bugs (Thames & Hudson, April 18, 2016) written and illustrated by London-based author illustrator Yuval Zommer is brimming with facts and fun about insects and invertebrates.

Can you find...
...exactly the same fly 15 times in 
this book?  Watch out for imposters.

With these books my admiration grew for these smaller beings inhabiting our planet.  Their place is our world is vital.  It is my hope, you too, will see their worth.  I wish you all happy reading.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure I've told you how much my youngest granddaughter loves bees, also insects. I read Jenkins' beetle book long ago but thanks for the reminder. I will get that one! And thanks for the others new to me, like that Ladybug book. Ah, so many nice ones available! Thanks, Margie!