the beeman

June 24, 2009

The Beeman by Laurie Krebs, Illustrated by Melissa Iwai

If your child is interested in bees, this is a great book to check out. A little girl tells the story of her grandpa, the beeman. She explains the protective gear bee keepers wear, the tools they use, the boxes the bees live in, and the various types of bees that work together to make honey, the tools used to extract the honey from the honeycomb, and ends with the little girl and her grandparents baking muffins and enjoying them with some fresh honey. Mmmmm. 

Juliet is particularly fascinated with bees--she likes to chase them around the garden. So far, she hasn't been stung. Hopefully, it stays that way. She, like most of us, loves honey as well, so this was a fun book for us. The book cover says the book is for children 4 to 8, but the text is simple and rhyming, so it is really accessible to younger children as well. The illustrations are wonderful--bright and colorful--perfect for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers alike. 

Activity Ideas

- My dad used to play Rimsky Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee" for us when we were kids. We would listen to it and run around the living room pretending to be bumblebees. 

- There's always the ever popular "Baby Bumblebee" song to sing with your child. 

- Bring bees to your garden or yard by planting bee-friendly plants. We have several plants that the bees seem to like: lavender, speedwell, zinnias, and catmint. If you don't have any good bee plants in your yard, take a walk around the neighborhood or in the park to look for places bees like to hang out. 

-Have your child hold a toy bee (we have a little plastic one that came with a bug set, but you can easily make one out of paper) and have her fly it around the backyard landing on flowers here and there. Talk about how bees gather nectar from flowers so they can make honey. 

-Whip up a batch of edible play doh and sculpt some bees, hives, and flowers. It's pretty simple: just have your child mix up 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup peanut butter, and enough powdered milk to make it the right consistency. Then sculpt away--since it is edible, you won't have to worry if your child takes a little bite of two of the dough. 

Crafts has a great bee craft section. I especially like the bee thumbprint idea. 

-Make a bee hive out of an empty cereal box. We cut a hole in one side, covered it with brown paper and then juliet decorated it. I cut out simple bee shapes from construction paper and drew wings and stripes on some, while juliet decorated the others. As we were drawing on the bees, juliet asked me to write her name on one and make a "juliet bee". After that, we made a mommy bee and a daddy bee to go with it. I wrote numbers on the back of all the bees and then juliet played with her hive and made all the bees fly inside to "make some honey." 

-Make some muffins (like in the story) or make one of these kid approved honey recipes

Juliet LOVES this video series from the National Wildlife Federation: Wild Animal Baby: A Tall Tail and Other Stories. Skip the Rabbit and pals investigate bees and the process of pollination in the second episode "Flower Power" of this video. It's only about 20 minutes long, so it is easy to watch and then move on to something else. We found our copy at a second hand media store, but it's available for rent at blockbuster. Check your local library--you might get lucky and find it there, too. 

- The National Honey board has a great kids site that provides pictures and information of real bees. (as opposed to illustrations of bees.)

-Since we're talking about bees...Looking for another good children's book blog? Check out bees knees reads.

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