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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Jam and Honey, written by Melita Morales and illustrated by Laura J Bryant. Tricycle Press, Random House. 2011. $17.99 ages 4 and up

"The scratchy branches could scrape my knees,
but I'm more scared of the buzzing bees.

Mama says hold still, they will fly away.
Bees want nectar, so I'll be okay!"

Two characters, two voices, two stories and a shared of the other. The little girl is out picking berries to make jam when she comes face to face with a bee. Her mom has told her not to just be still. She follows that advice and is soon on her way home with her mother, and ready to make that jam.

From the other perspective we meet the bee. It also has a goal in collect nectar to be taken home to the hive:

"We'll make honey when I come home,
sweet honey to fill our honeycomb."

The bee is afraid of humans but his mama tells him that he needs only to fly high and they won't bother him. When he meets up with the berry picker he knows just what to do. And, all is well. Each of us has a place in the workings of the world and that message is gently and effectively shared in this quiet story. The girl and the bee are scared of the other, both have a purpose in the meeting, and both fulfill the task they set out to do.

The pastel-hued tones of the artwork match the story and show the action from both perspectives, keeping our focus on the two main characters, their apprehension and their triumph at a job well done.

Now, there's a spring/summer story to share with your little ones.

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