Begin with a Bee by Liza Ketchum, Jacqueline Briggs Martin, and Phyllis Root / illustrated by Claudia McGehee / ISBN 9781517908041 / 40-page hardcover, 11 x 8 inches, from University Of Minnesota Press
A Chicago Public Library’s Best Informational Books for Younger Readers selection
Begin with a Bee and its story of the life of one queen bee, a rusty-patched bumblebee, teaches us not only about bees but also about our own responsibilities in the natural world...
By looking closely at the life cycle of one bee, Begin with a Bee helps readers of all ages understand and appreciate the contributions and significance of all bees. The life cycle of the rusty-patched bumblebee is a tale of wonder, the adventure of one queen bee who carries an entire colony of bees inside her tiny body. Her story begins in the spring when she emerges from a hole in the ground to search for pollen. She finds a nest, “underground best,” lays a few eggs, and seals them in pollen. All summer this single queen lays more eggs, and more worker bees hatch. They gather pollen and maintain the colony until next year’s queen hatches in the fall.
The queen bee’s life unfolds through Claudia McGehee’s captivating illustrations. The authors—three beloved and prolific writers of award-winning children’s books—impart the poetry and basic science of the rusty-patched bumblebee, the first bee to appear on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Endangered Species list.
Extensive commentary at the end of the book offers suggestions for being a friend to bees as well as a good citizen of the natural world. It also introduces the native plants that bumblebees need for survival. Begin with a Bee might inspire a child (or any of us) to seek out, identify, even cultivate these essential flowers—and participate in the next chapter in the story of all bumblebees.