7 brilliant bee books for children
My memories of this day include being sent to school a few times in my normal clothes to grandly announce that I was dressed as Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (a weak effort that – barely – worked because my name is Charlie). Another year, my Dad rather more ambitiously put together a nice Gandalf outfit, replete with a woollen beard.
Thanks to our Bee Cause campaign, we’ve already blogged about some fantastic bee books for grown-ups. Today, however, we were wondering how bees and other pollinators have shaped the landscape of children’s literature. Our staff have picked their favourite kids’ books featuring bees, which we hope will be as relevant to future generations of young readers as they are today.
1) The Adventures of Maya the Bee, Waldemar Bonsels (1912)
Originally a book about an adventurous bee who leaves the hive and befriends other insects, this much-loved character has grown to have her own comic strip, and international anime TV series.
2) The Very Greedy Bee, Steve Smallman & Jack Tickle (Tiger Tales, 2010)
If you can get over the inaccuracy that this character is a ‘he’ when in reality worker bees are female, this colourful story teaches kids of 2 years and older a big lesson about sharing.
3) The Very Busy Bee, Jack Tickle (Little Tiger Press, 2005)
With another Jack Tickle bee character, this vibrantly illustrated book is packed with pop-ups to grab the attention of even the youngest bee fans.
4) The Harry Potter series, J. K. Rowling (Bloomsbury, since 2001)
Bees even play a key part in the wizarding world. Ron Weasley’s family are keen beekeepers, and Dumbledore takes his name from a traditional Dorsetshire word for bumblebee.
5) Ant and Bee, Angela Branner (1950)
First created by Branner to teach her son to read, Ant and Bee books have remained a favourite educational series for young children.
6) Insect Detective, Steve and Charlotte Voake (Candlewick, 2012)
Bees are featured in this beautifully illustrated non-fiction book, full of facts and pictures to encourage primary school aged children to explore outside. The perfect insect guidebook for young friends of the Earth.
7) Show Me the Honey, Tish Rabe (Random House, 2010)
The Cat in the Hat introduces children to the world of bees and where honey comes from, with his usual entertaining style.
But, it's not just bees that pollinate our crops, there's plenty of other insects and animals that do this incredible work. So here's a few more books we've picked:
8) Butterfly Summer, Anne-Marie Conway (Usborne, 2012)
In this gripping story for young teens about dark family secrets, Becky finds comfort from her troubles in a local Butterfly Garden.
9) The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle (World Publishing Company, 1969)
An enduring classic since the 60s, we all know the story of the caterpillar who eats too much salami and cherry pie. But did you know that butterflies are also key pollinators, playing their own role in food production?
10) The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse, Beatrix Potter (Frederick Warne & Co, 1910)
A story of a house-proud woodmouse on a mission to protect her home from uninvited guests. Awkwardly, Babbitty Bumble and four other bees want to stay put. Unreasonable behaviour in 1910, perhaps, but these days bees don’t have many places to go!
We’re sure there are some gems we’ve missed, so if you have a childhood favourite literary pollinator, please tell us below.
Charlie Alderwick, Communications and Media Team
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