Bees are vitally important. We’re reminded of this fact almost daily; and currently living most of the time on the edge of Stroud, Britain’s ‘first Bee Friendly Town’ I was immediately struck by the message in this, the author’s debut picture book.
Rob uses mostly visuals to tell his story, with a little boy narrator who relates what happens when he comes upon a large box, lifts the lid and in so doing releases a bee.
Unsurprisingly said bee buzzes right at the scared lad, who, swatter in hand, chases the insect away, then climbs inside the box to hide. Off buzzes the bee, leaving the field clear for other minibeasts. Sometime later, the boy emerges to start a game of hide and seek, but of the bee there is no sign, let alone a buzz. Then the boy starts to miss his Apis acquaintance until he hears a welcome sound, follows it and a joyfully buzzy reunion takes place.
This effectively simple book is beautifully illustrated with stylish, patterned graphics showing bee and boy sharing our precious natural environment. The first of a proposed series of books aiming to ‘encourage young children to enjoy and appreciate the natural world’ it’s perfect for sharing with young listeners and equally, with its short rhythmic rhyming text, an ideal book for beginning readers. Either way, it conveys its crucial environmental message without a hint of preachiness. I look forward to seeing the next title, We Found a Seed.