Fujiwara, Yumiko, illus. by Hideko Ise. Honey: A Gift from Nature. Kane/Miller 2006. ISBN 978-1929132942 28 pp. $5.99
A young girl follows her father to their beehives in the mountains to observe where honey comes from in this picture book in the Nature: A Child’s Eye View series. The text begins on the title page, a bit unconventional. The present tense lends some immediacy to the child’s viewpoint, but the voice lacks some personality.
Using the cycle of the seasons gives the book structure: in the spring, bees awaken from hibernation and gather pollen from blossoms in spring, summer and fall. The process of gathering honey form the hives, creation of honey from nectar, and threats to the bees and the honey are detailed in simple, clear language.
A page where the father speaks in a dialogue bubble with an inked diagram of how nectar turns into honey is a bit incongruous with the style of the book, but it does impart the information. The images in the book are luminous: a breakfast table on a bright sunny morning; fat, butter-colored honeybees; a shimmering veil of rain; richly hued autumn leaves; and honey in tones of yellow, amber, gold and brown. A honey tasting is a natural tie-in for this one-on-one read; lack of bibliography, sources, index, glossary, or maps make this a secondary choice for school reports.
The theme and subject matter do make a nice fit for the MA 2006 Statewide Summer Reading Program, what’s buzzin’ at your library.