As all gardeners know, honeybees are important pollinators and must be encouraged in the garden especially when vegetables are being grown. The life of honeybees is fascinating and Gail Gibbon’s book, The Honey Makers, presents it in a way that is understandable to young readers and will help them appreciate honeybees in a new way. Written for children ages 5-8 Gibbons’ non-fiction book is a delightful way to explore this exciting topic.
The author covers all aspects of honeybee life. She begins by explaining that the scientific name for honeybees, Apis mellifera, means ‘honey bearer’ and goes on to describe the organization of the hive, the role of the queen, drones, and workers, and the practices of bee keeping. Gibbons follows the life of a worker bee in considerable detail, describing the feeding of beemilk and beebread to larva, the metamorphosis of the larva into adult bees, and the various tasks of worker bees including cleaning and polishing the cells, making wax, guarding the hive, and foraging. Special attention is paid to the gathering of nectar, collection of pollen, and the making of honey. A labeled diagram of a honeybee identifies the major anatomical structures of the insect including the proboscis, compound and simple eyes, thorax, abdomen, antennae, forewings, hind wings, and stinger. Terms such as pollination, metamorphosis, and brood cells are defined in context. Pages from a beekeeper’s diary describing the activities of beekeepers throughout the year and a final page of miscellaneous facts about bees conclude the work.
Colorful illustrations enhance the text and help explain the concepts described. Many of the pictures are labeled to aid understanding and enhance learning. This is the kind of book that can be read over and over with each reading bringing out new facts. With both visual and educational appeal, The Honey Makers is sure to grab the interest of any child who has seen bees going about their daily work.