November 2 – It’s Picture Book Month

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About the Holiday

Today’s picture books are amazing! Offering inspiration, characters that really speak to kids, moments to laugh out loud or reflect, glimpses into history, revelations in science, and much of the best art currently being produced, picture books defy their slim appearance with content that can change young lives. Reading a wide variety of books to children from birth on up is one of the most rewarding activities you can do. Make choosing the books to read a family affair! Kids love picking out their own books and sharing cozy and fun story times with you!

I’d like to thank Hippo Park and Astra Publishing House along with Deborah Sloan for sharing a copy of A Bear, a Bee, and a Honey Tree with me for review consideration. All opinions on the book are my own.

A Bear, a Bee, and a Honey Tree

Written by Daniel Bernstrom | Illustrated by Brandon James Scott

 

A bear in his den and a bee in his hive are waking up on a sunny morning. The bee is a “busy bee, a honey bee,” darting back and forth from a flower to the honey tree. The bear is “a hungry bear, a honey bear,” and he knows just where to find some breakfast. The bear’s rummaging through the branches does not go unnoticed by the bee, so the hungry bear becomes “a sneaky busy honey bear.” And when his paw breaks into the golden hive, the “fretful bee” becomes “a very angry fuzzy bee.”

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Image copyright Brandon James Scott, 2022, text copyright Daniel Bernstrom, 2022. Courtesy of Hippo Park Books.

The bear and bee face off, but what is that new rumbling sound? He should know bees never live alone, and soon the bear is on the run from “a million fuzzy buzzing bees.” The swarming bees search everywhere, but they cannot find the “hiding bear.” As the sun goes down, the bees return to their hive, while “a hungry grumbly honey bear” waits out the night in his den, already planning tomorrow morning’s breakfast run.

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Image copyright Brandon James Scott, 2022, text copyright Daniel Bernstrom, 2022. Courtesy of Hippo Park Books.

Like a twirling, whirling dance that starts with one measured step…and then another…and another until it bursts into a freewheeling, rollicking reel, Daniel Bernstrom’s story is an exhilarating romp. Suspense mounts page by page with wonderfully rhythmic rhymes that flow unencumbered by punctuation that would slow or stop the brilliantly escalating action. With just thirty-five words, Bernstrom has also created a story that pre-readers can chime in on as adults point to the bee, bear, tree, and other illustrations while beginning readers will find that the rhyming clues, repetition, alliteration, and sight words that carry the story give them confidence in their growing skills.

Brandon James Scott’s dynamic illustrations fling kids into the action as a happy bee makes its winding way from honey tree to flower to flower and back while a bear – tongue out, eyes glued to the prize – scrambles into the tree’s canopy to raid the hive. Who to root for will bring on plenty of giggles as the bee’s and the bear’s expressive faces tell kids all they need to know about these two rivals. The beehive glows like the gold it is to each of these characters, and the swarm is a densely packed storm cloud of protection. As the disappointed bear trudges back to his den, kids’ allegiance may shift, but his next-morning covert operations reveal he really hasn’t learned his lesson. Young readers will love ferreting out the bear among the tree branches and tall grasses and will laugh out loud as he tries to hurry away through a deep wildflower field.

A Bear, A Bee, and a Honey Tree will be all the buzz for home story times both for adults – who will have a rollicking good time reading aloud – and kids – who will want to hear it again and again. The book will be a hit for classroom reading and would make a terrific addition to public library preschool programs. A Bear, A Bee, and a Honey Tree is a must for any children’s book collection.

Ages 3 – 7

Hippo Park, 2022 | ISBN 978-1662640087

Want a laugh? Hippo Park has you covered with this cover animation!

About the Author

Daniel Bernstrom is a poet and the author of 6 picture books, including One Day in teh Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Tree and Big Papa and the Time Machine, a Minnesota Book Award winner. Daniel lives in Worthington, Minnesota, with his wife and 5 adorable children. You can learn more about him and his books at danielbernstrom.com.

About the Illustrator

By day Brandon is a Creative Director working in animation and by night he illustrates picture books. For over a decade Brandon has worked on a range of hit animated entertainment including his own creation, the award-winning series, Justin Time. He loves to make art that brings adventure, levity, heart, and curiosity for the fantastic and whimsical world around us and in our dreams. A born and raised Canadian, he currently lives with his family in Toronto. You can view a gallery of Brandon’s artwork, animation, books, and more on his website.

Picture Book Month Activity

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A Bear, A Bee, and A Honey Tree Activity Booklet

 

Hippo Park has designed a fantastic 4-page activity booklet that kids will have fun with while learning about letter sounds, adjectives, and nouns with a little drawing creativity thrown in. You can download it from the Hippo Park website and here:

A Bear, A Bee, and A Honey Tree Activity Booklet

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You can find A Bear, A Bee, and a Honey Tree at these booksellers

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million

To support your local independent bookstore, order from

Bookshop | IndieBound

Picture Book Review

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