Sometimes bees get too big to be up in the branches. Sometimes they fall and break their bones. This week both happened, and foreman said, ‘Tomorrow we’ll find two new bees.”
With real bees extinct, Peony wants nothing more than to be one of the human bees – children who climb the trees in the orchard and pollinate the flowers by hand, so that the rich people in the city can eat fruit. It’s not an easy life, scratching out a living on the farm, with her sister and grandfather, but at least the foreman makes sure they have food, and Gramps makes sure they have love. But Peony’s ma wants her to come and live in the city, and won’t take no for an answer.
How to Bee is a moving novel set in a dystopian near-future of haves and have-nots impacted by the extinction of bees and other changes. Peony is feisty, an intriguing blend of innocence and worldliness. Good-hearted, she is torn by loyalty to her mother and the new friend she makes in the city, and her love of the rest of her family and of life in the country.
The premise is both intriguing and important – with the world’s bees declining in numbers – and readers will cheer for Peony as she makes her way through some really difficult times, helping others along the way.
How to Bee, by Bren MacDibble
Allen & Unwin, 2017
Most of the time,
Gary was just like
the other racing pigeons.
He ate the same seeds.
Slept in the same loft.
And dreamt of adventure.
Gary is just like the other racing pigeons – except that he can’t fly. So, on race days, when the other pigeons head off on adventures, Gary stays home and dreams. And, when they come home, he collects souvenirs and information which he records in his scrapbook. When Gary accidentally finds himself in the travel basket one raceday, he wonders if he’ll ever find his way home. But his scrapbook provides the clues he needs to plot a route home.
Gary is a gently whimsical picture book about daring to take risks and follow dreams, no matter the obstacle. Readers will love the idea of a flightless bird using ingenuity – and public transport – to overcome his perceived handicap, and the way the other birds try Gary’s way, too. They will also adore the mixed media illustrations, with pastel hues and lots of detail to explore, especially in the maps and souvenirs which Gary collects for his scrapbook.
A beautiful picture book, Gary is suitable for all ages.
Gary, by Leila Rudge
Walker Books, 2016