STEM Friday #Kidlit Review The Honeybee

This month we are exploring some of the fantastic nonfiction children’s books that have been nominated for 2018 Cybils awards.

Let’s take a look at the cute picture book, The Honeybee by Kirsten Hall and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault.

Following honeybees as they gather nectar, bring it back to the nest and process it, Kirsten Hall’s rhyming, passionate text is wonderful.

For example, when a honeybee visits a flower:

There now, it drills now,
the bee sips and spills now,
there now, it swills now,
it sits oh-so-still now.

The pleasant alliteration and numerous verbs to keep the reader entranced.

Unfortunately, I’m not as entranced by the illustrations. In fact they exhibit some of my worst pet peeves:

1. Legs on the honeybees’ abdomens.  Insects legs are attached the middle section (thorax) only. I know, the illustrations are cartoons, but it wouldn’t be difficult to extend the lines to the right place.

2. Honey bee nests out in the open on a tree branch. This mistake goes back to Winnie the Pooh, where the honeybee nests are actually wasp nests. Most of the time the European honey bees nest in tree cavities or other enclosed spaces in nature. That’s why hive boxes have walls on all sides. If the nests are in the open, such as on a cliff face, they are well under a protective overhang.

Would I not recommend the book because of these problems? No, because now that you know, you have an opportunity to explain to children. Sometimes we learn more from the mistakes.

The Honeybee is a sweet celebration of these beloved insects.  Caveats aside, it is still a fun informational picture book.


  1. Have some honey on crackers as a snack (after reading the book).
  2. Check out the related hands-on honey bee science activities at Growing With Science blog.
  3. Visit our growing list of children’s books about honey bees at Science Books for Kids.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (May 8, 2018)
ISBN-10: 1481469975
ISBN-13: 978-1481469975

Disclosure: This book was provided by our local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.Opens in a new window Note: this is a new link as of 10/2018.