Luscious rainbow-hued, textured vistas of fields brimming with flowers and the flight of bees as they gather nectar and spread pollen spill out from every page in Bee written by Patricia Hegarty and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup (@BTeckentrup).
Hegarty’s rhyming text, which introduces us to the vital role bees play in our environment, exploring a wide variety of natural settings and showing us how bees alert each other to good sources of nectar, is a simple but effective vehicle for the real star of the show in this book: the rich, generous and jewel-like illustrations which brim with beauty and abundance.
The book as a physical object is lavishly produced, with the sort of cover you want to stroke. Die-cuts draw attention to details and introduce a sense of fun to the non-fiction text. Printed on satisfyingly heavy paper, this book is like a gorgeous bouquet – a sensory experience to delight and lift your spirits. A triumph of a follow-up to last year’s Tree, congratulations go to the team who have created another wonderful, eye-opening book which will feed a love and respect for nature.
Taking our lead from Teckentrup’s sumptuous and joyous illustrations we too wanted to have a go at creating a bee paradise in collage. First we printed lots of sheets of paper with various colours and textures, using all sorts of things include bubble wrap, shoes, leaves and fabric to give us interesting textures in the paint.
Whilst our printed sheets dried we went on a bee hunt in our local park, delighting in the wild flower meadows which mirrored Teckentrup’s illustrations.
We took a bee identification guide with us (we used the one from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust). This Red-Tailed Bumblebee (we think!) was our favourite:
When we returned home and all our printed sheets were dry, we cut out leaves, petals, stems and flower centres and stuck these onto clear sticky plastic – the sort you might use around school books to protect them.
To add a little bit of drama to the experience, we stuck our collage pieces face down, filling the entire area before sealing them in (with a layer of see-through stick plastic on top), and turning our artwork over for the “grand reveal”.
Can you spot the bee which snuck into the flower meadow we created?
Whilst we made our collage we listened to:
Other activities which might work well alongside reading Bee include:
If you’re looking for a personalised book, which also explores the importance of bees, and helps support the work of Friends of the Earth, you might want to take a look at this!
Disclosure: I was sent a free review copy of this book by the publisher, Little Tiger.