Holly the honeybee dancing star by Gordon Winch

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Illus. by Stephen Pym. New Frontier Publishing, 2019. ISBN : 9781925594492.
(Age: 3-7) Themes: Honeybees, Dancing. Holly is a honeybee who just loves to dance and all the other honeybees liked to watch her. 'She's a real dancing star' they thought. But Holly is also a worker bee and she loves to work. Her job is to collect pollen and nectar from flowers and take it back to the hive. When she takes it back to the hive she does a special dance, wiggling and waggling her body. 'Why does Holly keep waggling?' the other bees wondered. One of the other bees discovers that her dance points in the direction of the flowers rich with nourishing nectar and powdery pollen. The next summer when the land is dry and the flowers are dying, Holly's dancing helps to point the other bees in the direction of a fertile green forest, saving the day for the hive and the bee colony. The illustrations are an odd combination of painted, realistic flowers and landscapes and cartoonish bees, however this does help with the personification of the bee characters. The text is kept nice and short and simple but it is a little clunky and it misses the chance for rich vocabulary by using the same descriptors over and over. There is a page of factual information about the honeybee in the back of the book but the story itself does a relatively good job of including lots of this information. The book and included facts draw attention to the threat facing bees because of deforestation, insecticides and pests. It also reminds us that 'without this little insect, we would not have three-quarters of the food we eat' because of their pollination. This would work as an introductory book for young children about bee colonies and the roles of bees both within their colony and within our ecosystem.
Nicole Nelson