Bumblebee by Rachel Weston
This is a beautifully crafted piece of writing by Rachel Weston, lovingly adorned with vibrant and colourful illustrations by Deborah Hinde. It captures the importance of the humble bumblebee on its journey in Aotearoa New Zealand. As a bit of a learning tool, the book covers the problems that bees face in the modern environment: a world less and less abundant with the flowers - and therefore pollen - that they so desperately need.
Written in rhyme, the narrative bobs along happily and creates a positive learning environment for young readers. Our main bumblebee has a wonderful life and enjoys a multitude of flowers all of which are both enchanting and calling out to the bumblebee in the great synergy between the two. The repeated ‘Come to me! Come to me! Come drink my nectar, Bumblebee!’ acts as a refrain throughout the piece adding to the sing song style of the writing.
Unfortunately, during a lengthy hibernation over the winter months, human development destroys the flowers that the bumblebees need. So our main bumblebee has a tough time struggling to survive in this new and strange world. Thankfully, a young girl finds and cares for the now sick bumblebee using sugar water to revive her. Together they find a solution to the problem and there is a wonderfully happy ending.
It’s an uplifting story but also a timely reminder of the importance of connecting with nature as shared inhabitants of our planet. There is much to learn and much to appreciate both about this book, and about the bumblebees themselves. Sometimes it takes a picture book read to children to remind us adults of what is really important.
Reviewer: Chris Reed