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April Books: Earth Day, Bees, and Poetry Month

By on April 2, 2014

Sharing books with your child(ren) can be an on-going joy.  Fill your home with all kinds of books – fairy tales, Aesop’s fables, poetry, biographies, history books, books on astronomy, on sports, on dance, art books and more.  Share your pleasure in books by visiting the library and bookstores — especially used bookstores!  And don’t forget to let your child “catch” you reading.

by Meribeth Shank

Flight of the Honey Bee

BOOKS-flightby Raymond Huber, illustrated by Brian Lovelock.

Candlewick Press, $16.99 (hardcover)

Interest Level:  Kindergarten – Grade 2 – 3 (This book is available to purchase from Books & Books online: http://www.booksandbooks.com)

One of nature’s most important creatures can’t live alone. The honey bee depends on, and supports its hive and family of bees.  In this engaging picture book, readers are invited to follow one honeybee on her adventures. Like a hunter in search of prey, a scout honeybee’s mission is to find flowers.  She sips their nectar to carry back in one of her stomachs. Static electricity charges her body as she flies.  This makes it easy for flower pollen to attach while she’s sipping.  Both nectar and pollen are bees’ food. How Scout travels using her senses – to locate her “prey,” keep her from becoming another creature’s dinner, and protect her during a downpour — is important to her success.  Scout’s experiences continue even when she returns.  Bright illustrations in watercolor, acrylic ink and colored pencil provide close-up and distance views.  Combined with compelling language, the narrative launches even before the title page. Large text carries the storyline; Small text supplies additional details.  Back matter includes information about keeping bees safe, an index and brief introductions to both author and illustrator.

Bees, Snails, & Peacock Tails

BOOK-beessnailsby Betsy Franco, illustrated by Steve Jenkins.

Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (hardcover)

Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 3  (This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library; Main Branch, Miami Lakes, Miami Beach Regional, North Shore Branch. Also may be purchased from Books & Books online: http://www.booksandbooks.com)

Poet Franco and award winning artist Jenkins once again combine their talents to create a brisk and appealing picture book. It’s a dramatic mix of science, poetry and art in happy nonfiction companionship. The artist uses colorful handmade paper collage to illustrate shapes and patterns in our world. Lively, clever verses together with stunning images show surprising mathematical symmetry, scientific geometry, and nature’s artistry. Some of the words (Kaleidoscope, tapestries) will need explanations for the young audience.  Also, rhymes set limits on what and how much information can be shared.  However, additional background on each creature is attached at the end.

The Best Beekeeper of Lalibela: A Tale from Africa

BOOKS-beekeeperby Cristina Kessler, illustrated by Leonard Jenkins.  Holiday House, $16.95 (hardcover)

Interest Level: Grades 1-3 (This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library; Main Branch, Miami Lakes.)

Lalibela, a town in the mountains of Ethiopia, is well known for its rich, golden honey.  Almaz, a young girl with spirit, visits the men who are the town’s traditional beekeepers, looking for advice. She tells them she wants to keep bees and learn to make Lalibela’s best honey.  The men give her a task to do.  But she is not able to complete it. Instead of welcoming her and offering to teach her what they know, the men laugh at her.  But the priest encourages her to find her own way to success. Golden illustrations balance with darker contrasting colors, giving readers a feel for the brilliance of an Ethiopian market village.  Using acrylic, pastels, spray paint, and colored pencils Jenkins has matched Almaz’s determination and Kessler’s purposeful language with its deep-hued African setting. An Author’s Note and a brief glossary of Tigringna and Amharic words are included at the end.

Additional books for the season:

BOOKS-buzzonbeesThe Buzz on Bees:  Why Are They Disappearing?

by Shelley Rotner and Anne Woodhull, photographs by Shelley Rotner. Holiday House, $17.95 (hardcover)
Interest Level: Grades 1-3 (This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library; Miami Beach Regional. Also may be purchased from Books & Books online: www.booksandbooks.com)

 

BOOKS-.buzzBuzz

by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Vincent Nguyen.  Simon & Schuster, $15.99 (hardcover)
Interest Level: Junior Kindergarten – Grade 3. (This book is available to purchase from Books & Books online: www.booksandbooks.com)

 

 

 

BOOKS-beessneezeThe Bee’s Sneeze by Ellis Nadler.  Simon & Schuster.
Interest Level:  Junior Kindergarten – Grade 1 (This book is available to borrow at the Miami Dade Library; Main Branch, North Dade Regional, South Dade Regional.)

 

 

 

Meribeth Shank works in the Media Center at Miami Country Day School, an independent school in Miami Shores, Florida, teaches classes on Writing Books for Children, and earned her MFA in Writing for children from Vermont College. You can also find her on the web: http://meribeths.blogspot.com

 

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