The Little Book of Bees, by Hilary Kearney. Illustrated by Amy Holliday (Harpercollins £9.99)

As the weather gets warmer and we can sit in the garden, we may notice a buzzing sound. With the flowers come the pollinators - and this little book is a great introduction to the wide variety of bees you might find.

I remember last summer wondering why some bees had white bottoms and some had red, and why some liked the tiny white flowers of the Indian mint and others couldn’t get enough of the campanula.

This books helps answer a few of those questions. It begins with a brief history of these amazing insects which have arguably been around since the dinosaurs. Accompanied by beautiful illustrations from Amy Holliday, we are told about the special relationship between bees and the plants that need them.

The book then gives details of the different species: from mining bees, the familiar Apidae family that includes the bumblebee, and the megachildae, which includes the carder bee.

We are given a brief guide to the bee’s life cycle. In the marvellous anatomy guide, we discover the word 'spiracles', which are the 'special openings along the side of their bodies….that allow them to vent air directly to their organs'. The book is interspersed with key 'Bee Facts'. I was particularly fascinated that honey found in an Egyptian tomb dating back 3,000 years was still edible! And another fact tells of an experiment where bees were successfully trained 'to roll a small ball into a painted circle for sugary treats'.

This is a lovely edition to anyone’s natural history collection. I will never underestimate these little guys again.

Philippa Morris

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