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This attempt to explain bee-husbandry falls into two sections, both illustrated. The first section is told in verse (‘Here is the beehive, where all the bees sleep,/’tucked into a box called/a shallow or deep…’) to show the craft’s main features whereafter follow six pages of factual prose description of bee-life and apicultural artefacts.
The verse is instantly dismissable as naff, but the following text ain’t half bad and explains its subject quite well and accurately. But the pictures – you couldn’t call them illustrations – are dreadful: un-bee-like bees, slug-like birds, and the most grotesquely distorted hives, smokers, extractors and beekeepers imaginable, all suggestive of the clumsiness that is the anathema of the capable beekeeper. My dad was one such and he’d be turning in his grave more rapidly than a heather honey extractor were he to encounter this turgid tome.
The pity of it all is that, according to the blurb, the author’s beekeeper husband Bill is the original beeman and apparently a gifted explainer of the craft. So we’re left with the conclusion that had he written ‘Bill’s Bee Book’ readers would have been far better served than by this dismal effort.