by Melita Morales
illustrated by Laura J. Bryant
~ A little girl is on her way to gather berries, berries to make jam when she gets home. A little bee is on its way to gather nectar, nectar to make honey for her honeycomb. Their meeting in the same berry patch shines a gentle light on a common childhood fear from two points of view. This picture book provides a sweet way to convey even to the youngest child the importance of understanding and respecting all creatures.
A chance for readers to fly a mile in a bee’s shoes. The first half of the book follows a young girl as she goes to an urban park to pick berries. Morales’ rhythms bounce: “When I come home / we’ll make a treat, / sweet jam on toast / for me to eat.” But although the girl loves the berries and doesn’t mind the thorns, she is afraid of the bees. She follows her mom’s advice, though, and stays still when one flies near—it’s the nectar the bee wants, not her. The second half follows a bee on a parallel quest: “We’ll make honey / when I come home, / sweet honey to fill / our honeycomb.” Her mom has similar advice for her fear of people—humans just want berries, so fly high. Bryant’s softly colored watercolor-and-pencil illustrations nicely juxtapose the two perspectives. The girl’s rosy cheeks, headscarf and metal bucket lend an old-fashioned charm to the present-day urban setting. Good medicine for those unreasonably afraid of bees and a subtle message about sharing the Earth.