From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 4—This charming book is visually enticing and just plain fun to read. In simple, gentle "This Is the House That Jack Built" verse, a grandson affectionately delineates all of the tasks that his grandfather, the town beeman, performs as he cares for his hives. The child assists him, adding a nice intergenerational touch. The text conveys facts, but at the same time captures a larger understanding of and appreciation for nature: "Here is the queen bee,/who does her job well,/and lays tiny eggs/in a six-sided cell. 'She's the heart of the hive,'/says the Beeman." The acrylic illustrations are done in predominantly muted, pastel shades with occasional touches of bright colors. The slightly skewed perspectives keep readers' eyes traveling across the spreads. This is a newly illustrated version of an older title (National Geographic, 2002), with eight pages of additional information appended. This is a priority purchase for most collections as it works for beginning report writers and those with general interest, and also reads aloud well. It opens with a poem by Aileen Fisher, connecting an older poet to a new generation.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
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First published as The Beeman (2002) with illustrations by Melissa Iwai, this picture book reappears with nearly the same text but a new look and several added features. Featuring a beekeeper who introduces his grandson to bees and honey production, the book now opens with Aileen Fisher’s fine, short poem “Bees” and concludes with six nicely illustrated pages of information about these distinctive insects, their development from egg to adult, bee colonies, aspects of beekeeping techniques and equipment, honey, pollination, and bee “dancing.” There is also a recipe for the muffins mentioned in the story. Argentine artist Cis contributes a series of large-scale paintings using pleasing colors in a folk-art style that suits the simplicity of the verse. Although not a necessary purchase for libraries with the first version on their shelves, this is an attractive choice for those that don’t own it or want both. Preschool-Grade 2. --Carolyn Phelan