A book that will draw inevitable-and not necessarily favorable-comparisons to Rufus Butler Seder's Gallop! and Swing!, this story boasts color pictures in inset panels that appear to move as the pages are turned. The animations-a dog chasing a bee, a daisy opening its petals-provide a "wow" factor, but unexceptional rhyming verse and illustrations weigh down the project. An anthropomorphized honeybee is chased by a dog into a house, where she is trapped after a frightened boy shuts the window. The bee begs for his aid, explaining how bees help plants, trees and flowers grow ("And then from her eye came a big, shiny tear./ 'We just want to help but you all run in fear' "). The animated panels are not especially well integrated, and a list of facts about bees is at odds with the fanciful depictions of a four-legged bee with big blue eyes. Ages 4-up. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
If economic havoc means you can buy only one book for your little angels this year, let it be Bee & Me. Coauthored by Walnut Creek's Lisa McGuinness and Oakland's Leslie Jonath under the pseudonym Elle J. McGuinness, this heart-tugging tale of a boy who frees a bee from a window after it tells him that, were its species to stop gathering pollen, "There'd be no more apples, no flowers to smell. Still, you humans decide you don't like us that well," features luscious art by Heather Brown with the astounding patent-pending Ani-motion paper-engineering technology, which creates action on each heavy page as you flip it: wings whirr, figures run. An appendix tells kids how they can help honeybees, which (although it doesn't say this) have experienced a massive die-off in recent years.
One day a bee is out collecting nectar when a dog chases her into a house. The little boy in the house is frightened of the bee and prepares to run away from her. Then he hears the bee talking to him. The little insect explains that she needs to get back to work for there is much to do and she asks the little boy to help her. The little boy learns that bees are "good for much more/Than just honey." They pollinate trees and flowers, and without the hard labors of bees the world would be a very a different place.
Children who do not know how vital bees are will be astonished to learn how much we depend on them, how much we need them to do what they do best so that we might have food, and so that plants and trees can thrive. These days wild bee populations are in trouble and this book's arrival is timely. The book's environmental message shows children that little creatures can have a big impact on the environment and on humans. In addition to the story of the little bee, at the back of the book the author includes some bee facts, and she tells children what they can do to be a "Honeybee Helper."
Throughout the book there are bright illustrations, and on most of the double page spreads there are Ani-motion panels, which allow readers to see characters in the story move.