Book Review: UnBEElieveables

Douglas Florian. UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings. New York: Beach Lane Books, 2012. 29 pages.

Often, parents have to choose between picture books that engage their children’s curiosity and imagination and those that are scientifically accurate. With UNBEELIEVABLES, Douglas Florian has given us a book that is both. The poems are pithy, cleverly written, and mercifully vary in their line length and rhyme pattern. Kids’ books of poetry written in the same cookie-cutter style can get a bit tedious after the fifth reading, when you know you’ve got multiple pages to read in exactly the same cadence. Florian mixes it up nicely, which is much appreciated.

The paintings are fantastic as well–anatomically accurate when they have to be, but full of whimsy and imagination. Most of them are pretty enough to frame, and they all help you and your child visualize what the author is describing.

Each set of two pages has a poem describing some aspect of bee life (“Bee Anatomy,” “Worker Bees,” “Pollen,” etc), a painting showing the subject, and a short paragraph filled with facts about the subject. Parents can choose whether to read the informational paragraph verbatim to their kids, incorporate it into the discussion of the paining, or just wait until their old enough to read it for themselves. The book also has a bibliography and suggestions for further reading, should your kids’ curiosities be piqued.

I really liked this book, and I’m going to pick up some more of Florian’s work. If it’s anything like UNBEELIEVABLE, the entire family is in for a treat.


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One Response to Book Review: UnBEElieveables

  1. Meighan Schopenhauer says:

    This might sound weird, but the people I can see getting the most thrill out of this are people my age (about). While we all got a kick out of Arthur Yorinks’ “Happy Bees!” (with sing-along CD of silly bee songs), I can see this as the more contemplative and substantial next step in the children’s bee-book journey.

    We used to substitute “John Lilley” (erstwhile Prez of UNR) for “Queen Bee” in the songs simply to bring them to our level of sophistication. This book (a bit of which I previewed online) looks like no such substitutions will be made.

    Tommy’s birthday is coming up and I think I have chosen his first material gift, thanks to your guidance. I will be sure to say it is from both of us.

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