More serious in tone than previous books from an environmentalist point of view with discussions of food shortages and from a plot point such as people disappearing and in mortal danger. But as ever the thoroughly educational rally to arms for young children to care about bees to save our and their futures.
This excellent educational series blends graphic novel style action adventure plots with bags of knowledge about bees and beekeeping trying to encourage a love of environmentalism and possibly another generation of beekeepers.
There’s something seriously wrong with bees and pollinators. Due to the Pollination Pickle food is in short supply and honey costs a bomb and bees are dying because of evil infestations of vampire mites. We are in trouble as a species and the Ministry Of Bees is formed with an Iron Fist threatening to seize any hives with signs of mites.
Yet suddenly a new cafe appears in town serving delicious honey flavoured treats, so cheaply and a special Giggle fizz pop that seems to make everyone super happy. Melvin Meadly and his friends don’t know how this can be done- unless something fishy is afoot.
With fellow beekeepers disappearing even the teachers it’s up to BeeBoy to save the hive, save the day and help find a solution to save the world.
Ok, I admit this one is a bit heavier and more serious than the first two, maybe even slightly apocalyptic in the opening pages. I say this because Littlefae, who is 5 and adores the first two BeeBoy novels, got very upset in the opening chapters of this book and tearfully declared she HATES vampire mites from the back of the car after we picked it up early release from Waterstones so sensitive children may respond similarly at a few points in the novel.
However, it’s worth pointing out BeeBoy has never been rainbows and unicorns! BeeBoy like so many beekeepers (ourselves included) lost his entire hive in the first novel and faced mortal danger in the second so it’s fair to say the stakes will raise over time. Plus it’s an excellent story and fabulous addition to the series with exploration of another threat to bees from Varroa mites here named Vampire mites for ease and plot. There is also an excellent subplot about the perils of jumping to conclusions and following facts rather than making assumptions.
As with previous books, it’s excellent for entertainment and education with really powerful stuff to get children interested in and caring about bees and environmentalism making it ideal for incorporating into themed study units. It has also resurged my Beekeeper mother’s debate about whether to get a BeeHaus style plastic hive as Miss Springfield does to go alongside our wooden national hives.
Melvin’s Best friend Priti Kaur has an excellent idea Paths to Pollination which is about planting strips of annual wildflowers in between rows of crops to encourage pollinators to stay which will provide habitat, biodiversity and allow us to work with pollinators rather than against them. Hopefully this could be turned into a campaign that children can join in too- let us know where to sign!!
Overall, although it starts a little desolate it ends with heroism and hope which is fantastic and we look forward to where Bee Boy will go next.
Bee Boy Curse of the Vampire Mites by Toby De Saulles is published by OUP and available from bookshops and online.