Book Cover

A bee rejects busyness for

Oppressed by the hustle and bustle
of the hive, Bentley yearns for quiet. One day he sits down on a daffodil and
begins to meditate. This unusual practice draws other bees as well as the birds
and animals that frequent the garden, and when Bentley becomes aware of them,
he explains his unusual behavior: “Sometimes I have too many thoughts in my
head. / Meditation can help me stay focused instead.” Soon he’s got the other
animals meditating, encouraging them to “focus on your breathing” instead of
stray thoughts. This changes the culture of the garden: “Now, before the
animals burrow, build, or pollinate, / they gather in the garden to sit and
meditate.” Two-plus pages of dense text close the book, offering tips to
caregivers to help their children with mindfulness and meditation. While the
selection of a bee as guide is artfully counterintuitive, it also opens the
book up to some common pitfalls. Readers who know anything about bees will
probably know that male bees aren’t particularly busy, so the choice of a drone
as rebel is inaccurate. Moreover, the “hive” depicted in Keay’s bland, pastel
cartoons is not a hive but a wasps’ nest—a common mistake. Leaving biology
aside, the rhyming couplets are painfully forced.

There are plenty of reasons to pass
on this one. (Picture book. 3-7)

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