By Andrés Pi Andreu, illustrated by Kim Amate. DragonFruit, 2021. 32 pages. $16.95/hardcover; $9.99/eBook. Recommended for ages 7–10.
This picture story book confronts the problem of overcrowding and exclusivity in a fantastically illustrated beehive, which never feels quite real or particularly crowded. The crowding problem comes to light when three bee architects study housing conditions in the hive and report their finding that there is “one bee too many.”
Andreu has all the hive asking: “Is there a foreign bee?” “Is it an immigrant bee?” “Does it want my job, my honey?” “What kind of germs might it carry?” Other experts among the bees offer opinions. The hive becomes a “hornet’s nest” of argument trying to identify who among them is this extra bee, until the queen intervenes with some apian wisdom and the problem is resolved.
Adults will quickly recognize the allegory with parallels to immigration and racism issues of the present day and perhaps grasp the lesson of the queen bee. If only we could find such human wisdom. We recommend it to parents and teachers of children ages 6–10.
Tom and Sandy Farley are members of Palo Alto Meeting and attend San Mateo Worship Group. They are booksellers, storytellers, co-authors of the Earthcare for Children curriculum, and landlords for one beehive.