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Follow That Bee!

Follow That Bee! A First Book of Bees in the City

Scot Ritchie
Kids Can Press
32 pp.
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Follow That Bee! introduces kids to bees and urban beekeeping. The book describes an afternoon that five friends—Martin, Nick, Yulee, Sally, and Pedro—spend with Mr. Cardinal, an urban beekeeper. Mr. Cardinal starts by telling the kids that bees like to eat both nectar and pollen from flowers and explains how to set up a bee-friendly garden. The kids learn fun facts about bees and the importance of bees as pollinators. (My favorite factoid was that bees cannot see the color red and thus prefer purple, blue, and yellow flowers.)

Mr. Cardinal then introduces the kids to the roles of different bees in a hive and how they talk to each other. When they learn that bees communicate with each other by dancing, the children start dancing too.

Later on, a bee stings Nick’s foot. Mr. Cardinal, pulling out the stinger and cleaning the wound, uses this as an opportunity to remind the kids that they should be very careful around bees. Toward the end of the visit, he shows the kids how he uses smoke to calm the bees when he collects honey from their hives, and they help him bottle the honey.

Ritchie’s book contains some superb illustrations of bees and the hives they live in. It also does an excellent job of explaining the importance of urban beekeeping and offers tips for how both kids and adults can give bees a helping hand, such as by limiting the use of pesticides and by setting up baths for bees to drink water from in our gardens.

About the author

The reviewer is an associate editor at Science Immunology.