secret lives of bees is a thing of beauty and mystery. It’s not often we get to
spend time in the vibrant heart of a beehive.
Native bee hives in particular,
although cute and accessible and now featuring in many a backyard, are equally
enigmatic as access is often restricted to hive splitting rather than honey
reasons why, Megan Daley’s first foray into the magical world of picture book creation
with, The Beehive is such a good fit for the Nature Storybooks series
by Walker Books Australia.
Fun, informative and factful, The Beehive is
a true deep dive into the world of the Native Stingless Bee, of which there are
around 2000 varieties in Australia? Well, I never.
is a primary schooler with a penchant for bees. Every morning she rushes to
school to spend time with the school’s local hive of native bees. Her behaviour,
a reflex of the type of fascination a young child often develops after discovering
something wondrous and exciting for the first time. When such discoveries
happen, as they did for Willow thanks to Groundskeeper, Tom, a thirst for
knowledge grows. For Willow this thirst is sated by prying as much information
from Tom about the bees as possible which in turn is passed onto the reader.
narrative stream is deftly imbued with native bee insights creating interest
and occasional drama, all sweetened with a trickle of humour. Meanwhile, Willow’s
story is reinforced with factual explanations and demonstrative illustrations
that build a complete picture of the quirks and life cycle of the native bees
while inviting would be beekeepers inside their hives in glorious macro detail.
Hamilton’s illustrations not only support and inform, they create an environment
of blooms and resin and earth rich enough to savour with more than just your eyes. And thanks to the up close and personal nature of his pictorial representations
(the endpapers alone should be a wallpaper pattern!), there is no mistaking
the shape and form of our humble native bees for anything less than the beautiful,
unique and hugely essential creatures that they are.
fascination and wonder and a desire for children to perhaps acquire a hive of
their own, just like Willow. We have had native bees in our rainforest backyard
for over nine years. They thrive on neglect and top ups of their wee birdbath,
rewarding us by pollinating native blooms and vegies. Encouraging more symbiotic
relationships like these in our home (and school) environments is strengthen
with books like The Beehive which should be a mainstay in classrooms
Title: The Beehive
Author: Megan Dayley
Illustrator: Max Hamilton
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
Publication Date: 1 February 2024
For ages: 5+
Type: Picture Book