Review Blog

Feb 13 2019

Bizz buzz boss by Natalie McKinnon

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Ill. by Margaret Tolland. Starfish Bay Children's Books, 2018. ISBN: 9781760360566.
(Age: 4+) Themes: Insects, Gardens, Bees, Cautionary tales. This is a fascinating look at the role of each of a number of insects and other creatures in the garden (ladybird (bug), spider, bee, worm and skink). This cautionary tale reminds readers not to be insular and self absorbed, to check what is happening around them and certainly not to brag about their abilities. The spider in the garden, curled up in her leaf, watches the bee as it darts and buzzes around the flowers, collecting pollen for the hive.
As she goes about her work, she repeats a similar refrain, 'My work is important you see. I collect pollen to take to my hive. No one works as hard as me.' Several of the other creatures in the garden come nearby but she brushes them aside using the same lines but with a second line that reflects the work she does. So when interrupted by the worm she tells him that she collects pollen: when it is the ladybird who interrupts she tells her that she sprinkles pollen on each flower: with the skink, she reminds him that the pollen helps the fruit grow. Each time the bee is showing the reader what the work of a bee is in every garden, and how important it is to our survival.
But the other creatures are a little tired of her; she is condescending in her retorts that she is the one working, seemingly the only one! and the creatures seek help from the little spider. She uses her skills in the most appropriate way to let the bee know how useful every member of the garden community is.
A cunning tale about inclusivity and interdependence, children will love the climax of the story as the bee learns more about her surroundings, and sees she is not alone in her usefulness to the garden.
Starfish Bay Children's Books began in Adelaide in 2014 and more information about this publisher can be found here.
Fran Knight

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