Monday, August 1, 2016

Review: Bees in Loretta's Bonnet by Lois J Wickstrom

Bees in Loretta's Bonnet
by Lois J Wickstrom
Illustrated by Francie Mion

Bees in Loretta's BonnetWhen Loretta dropped her armload of firewood on the hearth, a mysterious tube fell from between the logs. It was a leafcutter bee nest. Loretta took it back out to the woodpile and watched as holes appeared. But where were the bees?

She found more holes appearing in leaves on her rose bushes. And even some of the rose petals. But where were the bees?

Leafcutter bees are more efficient than honey bees for pollinating gardens. The book includes instructions for building a nest that may lure wild bees to your yard.

My Take:
Loretta's curiosity leads to discovery in this delightful illustrated children's book. Written on about a third grade level, this would be appropriate as either a read-aloud to your kids, or a relatively early reader for your young school age kids. There's also a science project for constructing a leaf cutter bee nest at the back, a great resource for a nature project for classroom or homeschool.

This is a children's book, and there's nothing offensive in it. Unless you don't like life on a farm, or bees. Personally, things that sting tend to be low on my list of friendly pets, but the leaf cutter bee is mild, and rarely stings unless handled. Also, their poison is milder than that of say the honey bee. They can damage prize rose bushes, so they are sometimes considered pests.

Final Analysis:
Bees in Loretta's Bonnet is an educational look into the life of the leafcutter bee and its contribution to life on a farm. There are clear instructions on how to create a nest for these relatively docile creatures, as a project for the kids. It's well illustrated, with watercolor pictures on every page.

Science projects are always a plus, and having one at the end of an entertaining illustrated children's book is a great combination. The instructions for building a leaf cutter bee nest are clear, and make for a great family project, whether your kids are homeschooled (like mine) or whether you are teaching a classroom. I've seen the inquisitive nature of kids in my four, and it's refreshing to see a girl who enjoys learning about bugs and their contribution to life. Five Stars!

About the Author:

Lois is the author of Oliver, A Story about Adoption, winner of the Read America award. She and Francie Mion (artist) have created the Loretta's Insect series: Ladybugs for Loretta, Bees in Loretta's Bonnet, and soon Loretta's Pet Caterpillar.  She is co-author of the Nessie’s Grotto series with Jean Lorrah, which won the IEBA award. Her Amanda Mini-Mysteries were published in Child Life, and voted “most popular series.”  She has also been published in The Friend and Highlights.  She is the author of the American Chemical Society video “Starting With Safety” and the HRM videos “It’s Chemical” series.  She was head science teacher at Science in the City in Philadelphia.  Her Imagenie science videos are on YouTube.  She is an avid gardener, experimental cook, exercise junky, and all-around silly person.

Here's a list of her works:
"Coal for Christmas" co-authored with Jean Lorrah won the Gold Remi at Worldfest for family filmscripts.
"Nessie and the Living Stone" co-authored with Jean Lorrah won the IEBA award for family ebooks
"Order of the Virgin Mothers" was performed by Trust Us Theater in South Carolina. It was also published in a play collection by Wildside / Borgo.
"Medea in Athens" was performed by Delaware Community College.
"Oliver, A Story about Adoption" won the Read America Award.
"The Amanda Mini-Mysteries" won the Reader's Favorite award at Child Life Magazine.
"Pop-Up Kids" co-authored with Jean Lorrah is currently a quarter-finalist at ScreenCraft Family Film Fest
"Starting With Safety" is the best-selling video at American Chemical Society
"It's Chemical" series was funded by NSF and distributed by Human Relations Media.  It won the Educational Video award from Video Maker Magazine.

About the Illustrator:
Francie Mion got a degree in fine art, then included fine art again into her life after a long career in therapeutic massage. She has illustrated multiple books for Lois Wickam. Francie also makes greeting cards and pet portraits. Her website is 

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