Hello, friends! Our book today is Kindness Matters: Sharing Bees, written by Antoinette Clark and illustrated by Russel Wayne, a story of teamwork and consideration.
Sadie the bee wakes one morning to the warm sun, and is excited – it’s the first day of spring, and she is ready to help her hive collect pollen and nectar. She meets up with her friends, and they discuss their game plan; Sadie is particularly interested in procuring some white clover nectar, a favorite of the baby bees in Honeycomb City. She and her friends all work together to collect their bounty, right up until ominous clouds appear on the horizon. Suddenly, the bees are all nervous: heavy rain drops can be dangerous, and many of them are moving slow due to their loads of nectar. Thinking quickly, Sadie comes up with a plan that will get everyone and their nectar home safely. It’ll just take a little teamwork, and a little sharing.
As stories go, this one is not bad at all. While the language of the text can be a little on-the-nose and overly literal in places, the story has a lot of good elements and themes: community, generosity, consideration, cooperation, leadership, courage. Unfortunately, this gets overshadowed by the deeply confusing art choices. Sadie, along with the other bees of her hive, are depicted as having humans heads, two legs, and two arms with fingered hands, yet with wings and bee-striped bodies. They almost appear to be humans in bee costumes, but everything from their hive to their size is consistent with that of actual bees (and this is never addressed in the text). It’s an unnecessary and distracting visual element, especially as the book claims to educate on the importance of bumblebees in nature; if there were the case, why not illustrate normal bees? Why give them human features? It was quite perplexing for JJ, who repeatedly searched for the “bees” the text I was reading referred to (to her eyes, she saw only humans). The length is fine, but this major stumble definitely detracts from the overall experience. Ultimately, this one was not for us, ambitious story notwithstanding.
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the author in exchange for an honest review.)