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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Give Bees A Chance, written and illustrated by Bethany Barton. Viking, Penguin. 2017. $22.99 ages 5 and up


Why are you telling me
all this stuff?


I hope that you read a copy of Bethany Barton's I’m Trying to Love Spiders (Viking, 2015). If not, check for it at the library and take a careful look. This time, she is making a case for caring about bees. Our narrator's best friend Edgar needs a lot of encouragement to give up the terrified feelings he has for them.

"Mostly because of
their "stingers,
and attached venom sacs,
which are the cause
of painful bee stings.""

Admittedly, he was stung by a bee last Sunday. But, it was only one bee. Why would he put all bees on his 'things to be hated' list? Our narrator does a superlative job of making a case for the benefits and anatomy of bees, providing fact after interesting fact about them. All information shared is meant to persuade Edgar to give them the chance they deserve to be considered in a much more favorable light.

"They act as a
pollen delivery service,
helping give flowers
the ingredients they need.
A single bee can visit
over 1,000 flowers a day, 
making bee pollination
powers unparalleled!
Which means without bees,
there'd be a lot less
yummy stuff to eat."

Those kids who are concerned about bees meet a fellow worrier in Edgar. They will understand his reticence to just accepting all of the information provided, despite its engaging and informative style. Bee stings remain top of the list for him. They are painful, of that there is no doubt. But, there are so many other things we need to know about bees, and Bethany Barton provides us with that, in spades!

There's comedy here, as well as welcome cartoon illustrations 'rendered using inks, paper, computers, Photoshop, laughter, iced tea, exhaustion, and silliness.' Together, they work for our enjoyment and new learning. Don't miss it!

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