A, Bee, See: Who are our Pollinators and Why are They in Trouble?

Written by Kenneth Eade

Photographs by Valentine Eade

A,Bee,Seepic

The author decided to write a children’s edition of his adult book. You might expect it to be written by a biologist, but Kenneth Eade is a lawyer with the vision to look ahead toward environmental responsibility. He begins by explaining the interdependence of plants and animals and then introduces the bee as our most important pollinator. Bees have been at work for more than one hundred million years. There are thousands of kinds of bees, but Eade concentrates on the most common types like the honey bee and the bumblebee, and how they accomplish their work. Most of us are aware of the bees work, but are less familiar with the fact that moths and bats pollinate plants at night. Did you know that bats pollinate three hundred kinds of fruit and cacti?

The reader will learn how the honeybee colony is organized into queen bee, workers and drones. Did you know that honeybees have five eyes that help them navigate with light, color and direction? For years I have been telling children to stand still when any type of bee flies near them. I felt vindicated that this is the right action. What I found really interesting is that worker bees have two stomachs, one for eating and one for storing the nectar they gather, They even have tiny bags on their hind legs for carrying the pollen to the hive. I was never aware of the processing bee that puts nectar into a honeycomb cell nor that she adds an enzyme that allows it to ripen and dry into honey. Such a perfect food for the bees which lasts for years and provides nutrition for humans as well.

Bees are endangered now because excessive land clearing depletes home-sites for bees as well as other animals. At the same time the wildflowers are disappearing. Many farmers treat their crops with pesticides that kill bees. Children can help by urging their parents to plant wildflowers in their gardens and writing to government representatives to make them aware of environmental concerns.

This book contains beautiful photographs and is well written. It belongs on the shelves of every elementary classroom. Younger children can learn a lot about plants, animals and the environment by using this book as a reference. Older children might use it as a starting point for more advanced study. This book is enlightening and informative for all ages.

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