UnBEElievables

Honeybee Poems and Paintings

Illustrated by Douglas Florian
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About The Book

The buzz is big for Douglas Florian’s new poetry collection about the unBEElieveably unique lives of honeybees—and the vital role they play in our ecosystem.

Come inside the honeycomb—a busy, buzzy, bee-filled home—and learn about the unexpected wonders of these tiny insects’ lifestyles, families, and communities. In fourteen funny, fact-filled honeybee poems and paintings, Douglas Florian explores the natural history of these often-unappreciated critters, revealing them to be a totally cool—and totally important—part of our ecosystem. Indeed, these buzzy bugs have been in the spotlight lately as wild bee populations are dwindling, honey prices are rising, and beekeeping has become a popular hobby.

About The Author
Photograph courtesy of the author

Douglas Florian is the creator of many acclaimed picture books including How to Draw a Dragon, UnBEElievables, Poetrees, and Dinothesaurus. He lives with his family in New York.

About The Illustrator
Photograph courtesy of the author

Douglas Florian is the creator of many acclaimed picture books including How to Draw a Dragon, UnBEElievables, Poetrees, and Dinothesaurus. He lives with his family in New York.

Product Details
  • Publisher: Beach Lane Books (March 2012)
  • Length: 32 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781442426528
  • Grades: K - 3
  • Ages: 5 - 8

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Raves and Reviews

"Florian (Poetrees, 2010, etc.) bestows yet another pleasing mix of punny poems and colorful collages that blend whimsy and fact.... Spreads like "Swarm" epitomize Florian's skill at combining pithy rhymes, well-chosen facts and playfully tongue-in-cheek pictures.... Design is crisp.... Florian shines again here."

--Kirkus Reviews, March 6, 2012

“Another winning compendium…. Cheerful anthropomorphized caricatures of honeybees accompany upbeat, rhyming wordplay and factual notes in the artist’s familiar style…. “All day we bees/Just buzz and buzz./That’s what we duzz/And duzz and duzz.” The book is just what Florian duzz and will be welcomed by his fans.”

School Library Journal, February 2012

"Working in gouache, colored pencils, and collage on paper bags, Florian evokes the world of bees with repetitive patterning that cleverly references their honeycombs and the fields of flowers they frequent as well as the bees themselves—worker bees are sisters hatched from eggs laid two thousand at a crack. His rhythmic verse, too, echoes bee behavior, as much with sound as with sense (“I’m a nectar collector. / Make wax to the max. / A beehive protector. / I never relax”). Puns and other wordplay enliven the text (“Why are we full / Of fuzz and fuzz? / Bee-cuzz bee-cuzz / The fuzz the fuzz / Helps pollen stick / To uzz to uzz”). A paragraph of more straightforward facts elucidates each spread, but the real energy here is in the deceptively casual art. A regal queen bee looks almost human, and drones resemble feckless kids, while captions of discretely scattered capitals provide as much texture as information…an offbeat and attractive book, completed with a “BEEbliography.”

The Horn Book, March/April 2012

“Poetic chronicler of the natural world Florian takes on a more tightly focused subject than usual, winging his way through the world of the honeybee in fourteen rhyming poems…a bee brags of being her “own pollen nation” in “Summer Hummer,” while the onomatopoeic “Bees Buzz” will have kids bzzing their way through the day. A bibliography—sorry, “BEEbliography”—and a couple of web links for further reading are included.”

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March 2012

“In this high-spirited and lyrical homage to bees, smudgy paintings that resemble a child's chalkboard drawings pair with collage elements to tenderly anthropomorphize the insects…. Florian also includes descriptions of bee behavior ("One of bees' most important roles in nature is a process called pollination"), which add a touch of biology to his tableaus.”

Publishers Weekly, February 27, 2012

“The latest in Florian’s series of poetry books spotlighting animals, this attractive volume features bees…. Here the facts appear alongside the verse, an arrangement that works well because knowledge enlarges the experience of reading the verse and helps the information stick…some of the rhyming poems…express the bees’ point of view in a playful way that makes them fun to read aloud or even to memorize…. A nice mix of wordplay and science.”

Booklist, April 1, 2012

Awards and Honors
  • NCTE Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts
  • CBC Best Children's Books of the Year
  • MSTA Reading Circle List
  • NCTE Notable Poetry List
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