Follow That Bee!: A First Book of Bees in the City by Scot Ritchie; illustrated by Scot Ritchie. 2019. Artwork is done digitally. Published by Kids Can Press.
Brief Summary: Mr. Cardinal keeps beehives in his backyard in the city. He invites Martin and his friends over to the backyard where they learn what bees need to thrive. They help plant a variety of flowers that bees like and learn how pollinators move pollen around. The children learn about how natural honeycomb is made and the ones Mr. Cardinal has in his yard. One of the children gets stung by a bee and is shown how to take out the barbed stinger. They are told what happens to the bee. The students are shown how to wear protective gear and smoke the bees to get the honey to sell at the farmer’s market.
Comments: Great bee basics with many nonfiction text features such as a map, labeled diagrams, bold words, and pictures with captions. The back of the book includes directions of how to make a bee bath and a “words to know” section.
The narrative was on the left side with two paged layouts.
I thought it was funny how calm the child was when Mr. Cardinal took the stinger out of foot. I’m sure young readers will share about their experiences with bee stings.
Walk With Me by Jairo Buitrago; illustrated by Rafael Yockteng. English translation–2017(originally printed in 2008). Pencil, scanned and redrawn/colored digitally. Published by Groundwood Books.
Brief summary: A girl requests a lion to keep her company while she walks through the city on her way home from school to pick her brother up from daycare and to the store where she buys food that she will make for dinner to be ready when her mother returns from working in a factory. The lion leaves to go back up in the hills at bedtime when all three sleep in the same bed next to a photo of the family minus the father.
Comments: This book’s illustrations tell so much of the story. We wonder what happened to the father in the photo shown at the end. He has a lot of yellow hair that looks similar to the lion’s mane. Is she imagining the lion as her father? This little girl must take on responsibilities beyond her age and maneuver through a busy and poor area of the city.
To help her mentally get through all of this, she imagines the lion walking with her. The store won’t give them any more credit. The lion is roaring in the background as the little brother crawls on the store’s floor. We see that the family is living in poverty by the cracks and deteriorating buildings. I want to know more about this story. What happened to the father?
Although this is a sad story, it is a necessary one that should be shared in order to remind us what some children go though once they leave school. We are reminded why they are unable to get their homework finished. No play dates. No soccer practice. They are too busy just getting by each day.
Spot, the Cat by Henry Cole; illustrated by Henry Cole. 2016. Black and white; very detailed
Brief Summary: Spot, the cat, sees a bird outside an opened window and decides to climb down the vines to get it. The reader follows Spot on his little outing looking for Spot in each page turn. The little boy looks for his cat. They both end up home again.
Comment: Fun, detailed art had me looking for Spot on each page. The story is very simple as Spot wanders through the city and back to his home as his little owner looks for him. Stories without Words. One lesson I would use this book and other “stories without words” books would be during the beginning of the first trimester with kindergartners and first graders to show how we can tell stories by just looking at pictures. Put the students in twos to look at a book together and then start from the beginning to retell it to one another.