Gr. 1^-4. The author introduces young readers to honeybees and bee culture in this informative picture book. She explains the organization of a hive, the life cycle of these social insects, and typical beekeeping practices. Of particular note are the sections on making honey (nectar is passed by mouth back and forth until it becomes drier and thicker) and the functions of adult worker bees (whose job descriptions progress from housekeeper to nurse to wax maker to guard to forager)--details not often included in books for this age group. Gibbons' signature full-color artwork makes each page a visual delight, and numerous inset captions and labels add to the wealth of knowledge found in the text. Appended with a beekeeper's monthly diary and a list of additional facts, this will be welcomed by report writers and browsers alike. Kay Weisman
From Kirkus Reviews
Although most folks buy it in a simple jar, honey is nothing short of miraculous in the way it is manufactured--bees use nectar from over a million flowers just to make one pound of the stuff. It's that kind of fact that pops up frequently as Gibbons (Country Fair, 1994, etc.) investigates the lives of these industrious ``manufacturers'' and their relationship to humans through beekeeping. She follows a worker bee from birth through its many jobs: house bee, nurse, wax maker, guard, and forager. Queens, drones, and life within the hive are all covered in detail. Outside the hive, the beekeepers are busy, too, setting up the hive, maintaining it, and collecting and processing the honey. Gibbons includes sample pages for each month from a beekeeper's diary--even in the cold months of December and January, there is work to be done. Bright pictures back up the text in a slightly looser--still highly detailed--line than is Gibbons's typical style. She incorporates some of the clichs about bees into the book, giving real meaning to beeline and busy as a bee. A final page rounds up some random tidbits, covering everything from stings to honey flavors. Bee-utiful. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5+) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.