The cold is coming and Scout is on a daring flight in search of the last flowers of autumn. Scout's mission is very dangerous, but it is also vital, because the flowers provide the precious nectar the hive needs to make honey. Can the hive make enough honey to survive the long winter months?
A new addition to our Nature Storybooks series, Flight of the Honey Bee details Scout’s journey to a meadow. Yet Scout’s story is far from prosaic; in fact, it’s rather poetic, and the dangers she faces are very real to a honey bee.
Scout zigs and zags from flower to flower, spreading pollen around. The pollen clings to her fuzzy body – a sprinkle of sun-powder.As with all the Nature Storybooks, factual details provide a counterpoint and encourage deeper reading and discussion. At the end, there’s an author’s note, about honey bees, and their status as an endangered species. (There are also classroom notes available for Flight of the Honey Bee.)
But for me, the thing about this book isn’t just how very real Scout’s journey is, or even how it could encourage children and adults alike to learn more about colony collapse disorder and how we can save the bees. It’s that the story is very much a reflection of a child’s day, filled with almost timed phrases for how kindy and primary school kids journey through their own days. There’s leaving home for adventure (and knowing one will return home again); dealing with something difficult (and overcoming it); pausing for breath; telling everyone at home about one’s day; and reflecting (often with a parent) on the day, and how even the difficult parts were worth it.
It’s rare to find a book which is so inextricably tied to events children can relate to while at the same time presenting a story so unlike theirs. It’s something to glory in, that togetherness – and the facts alongside provide a rather lovely set of grace notes. (The illustrations, too, are truly gorgeous. The first one, where “a bee the size of a cherry pip”, sets out, is my favourite.)
Learn more about Nature Storybooks: Flight of the Honey Bee here or learn more about honey bees with our classroom notes.
Raymond Huber lives in Dunedin. He has been a social worker, gardener, primary school teacher, lecturer, and is currently a writer and editor. He's written Science and English textbooks and short stories for children. Sting, his first novel for Walker Books Australia, was short-listed for the NZ Post Book Awards for Children & Young Adults, Junior Fiction Category, 2010; and the Sir Julius Vogel Awards, Young Adult Category, 2010; as well as being a Storylines Notable Book, Junior Fiction Category, 2010. (Read more of Ziggy's adventures in the sequel, Wings.)
Brian Lovelock is a scientist working in the power industry in New Zealand. He has painted all his life but has only recently ventured into the world of book illustration. His previous titles with Walker Books Australia include Did My Mother Do That! and Roadworks, which won the Picture Book category in the 2009 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children & Young Adults. Brian was recently long-listed for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Award for his work on Demolition.