Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Book of Bees by Piotr Socha text by Wojciech Grajkowski

In a word this is a splendid book!  It is huge, easy to read, fascinating and each page has the most delicious illustrations.  I especially like the way some illustrations are numbered - it reminds of science books from my childhood and those special botanical books with glossy colour plates.

I read this whole book in one sitting and I discovered so many new and important facts about this curious, hardworking and essential little insect.

Did you know? (I could go on and on with this list)

  • Bees were around in the times of dinosaurs
  • An adult bee lives for about five weeks and during this time it may work as a cleaner, feeding the larvae, receiving the nectar, guarding the hive entrance and finally becoming a forager responsible for collecting nectar, pollen and water.
  • Bees are the only insects who practice flower consistency which means the pollen ends up where it is meant to be.
  • Emperor Bonaparte and his wife Josephine embroidered their capes with bees in gold thread and added bees to their flags, emblems and seals.

Now that I know how hard the bees work and how many flowers they have to visit I have a new respect for honey.  Here are some statistics which might amaze you :

  • A bee can visit 15 -20 single flowers in one minute
  • A bee can carry up to 1/3 of its body weight in nectar inside its honey stomach
  • To make one kilo of honey bees "must visit over four million flowers flying about 110,000 miles in the process. This is the same distance as flying around the world four times!"

You can also read about honey in Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and cave pictures of bees believed to be 8,000 years old.

The latest copy of The Literature Base features a series of lessons about bees.  This is why I bought The book of bees and The flight of the Honey Bee home to read.  I have now started a little Pinterest collection of non fiction books in our school library about bees.  Now I just need to plant some bee attracting flowers on my balcony.

I recommend you take some time to explore the web site of Piotr Socha.  We are so lucky Thames and Hudson selected this book to publish and translated it from Polish so many more children around the world can learn about the precious bee.

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