The endpapers are decorated with a fascinating variety of bees, from the sweat bee to the cellophane bee. The story begins with the unseen narrator trying to convince her best friend Edge (a thumb-shaped head) that bees are really awesome.
Why doesn't Edgar love bees? After all, there are 25,000 different varieties, three types of honeybees, and "AHHHHH! GET THEM AWAY FROM ME!" Oops. Well, maybe Edgar just needs some convincing. Maybe he just needs to learn a little more about bees, like their cool anatomy (yes, yes, there are stingers but that's not the point), how bees create honey, and "AHHHHHHHH!!! TOO MANY BEES!!!". Hmm, ok, maybe Edgar needs to learn how to keep bees from stinging you - after all, they only sting in self-defense - and if you make wise choices in what you wear, they won't be attracted to you. No? Well, how about the fact that without bees there would be a lot less food to eat, since we'd be missing a key pollinator. Ah ha, we've convinced Edgar. He doesn't love bees, but he's willing to help them. What are some ways we can help bees? Attracting them with flowers, not bothering them, and just giving them a chance!
Barton's splashy artwork is a strong complement to this hilarious story with Edgar's staring eyes peering out of each page as he encounters all the different facets of a variety of bees. The cartoonish illustrations may not necessarily help a reader identify an actual type of bee, but it does show the differences between bees and some basic lessons about their life cycle and anatomy.
Verdict: I used this book to teach all the first graders to call honey "bee barf". Need I say more?