The Big Sting

Delaney, Rachelle. The Big Sting. Toronto: Tundra, 2023.
Leo and his family are spending a week on a small island off the coast of British Columbia. Leo enjoys virtual adventures on his computer at home in Toronto, but now he is in the middle of a real-life mystery: his recently deceased grandmother’s beehives have been stolen and his grandfather is determined to find them. Meanwhile, his parents have taken themselves off to a luxury resort. How will Leo cope with his grumpy grandfather and impetuous younger sister? The hopefulness of Patricia MacLachlan’s stories and the zany humour of Polly Horvath’s stories combine in this life-affirming novel highly recommended for readers 8 to 11 years old.

A novel by Patricia MacLachlan

Novels by Polly Horvath

Stories about grandparents

Stories by Canadian writers

Stories set in Canada

Bees, Bees, Bees

Raczka, Bob. Beware! Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2019.
This charming picture book – about a little bear frolicking with a bee in a grassy meadow – contains words made using only five letters: b, e, w, a, and r.  Delightful as a read-aloud, it is recommended for young children starting to sound out words for themselves. 

Caprioli, Claire. A Swarm of Bees. New York: Children’s Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., 2023.
This small book is perfect for young readers starting to do research projects. There is a page of contents, several short chapters, a glossary and an index, all in only 32 pages. The large font, short sentences, and colourful photographs combine to create an appealing nonfiction book highly recommended for readers 6 to 10 years old. 


Holasová, Aneta Františka.  Bruno: the Beekeeper. Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press, 2021.
This detailed picture book – first published in the Czech Republic in 2013 – is full of information for readers who want to learn about beekeeping. It contains anatomical drawings, illustrated timelines, and lovely illustrations of plants and animals. There are details about caring for bees and harvesting honey. There is even a recipe for gingerbread cookies made with honey. The confusing part is that this is all told as an anthropomorphized story of two bears. There is far too much information in much too small a font for this to be a read-aloud book. Meanwhile older readers – using the book for research – will not care about Bruno and his grandmother. As a result, while I can recommend this book for people 11 years old and up who want to expand their general knowledge, be forewarned: ignore the story line.