What’s the Buzz: Hon­ey for a Sweet New Year

Alli­son Ofanan­sky; Eliyahu Alpern, illus.
  • Review
By – November 7, 2011

A change from the usu­al apples and hon­ey pre­sen­ta­tion, What’s the Buzz, through won­der­ful pho­tographs and sim­ple expla­na­tions, teach­es both adult read­ers and young chil­dren how we get hon­ey. The nar­ra­tive begins with a trip to a bee farm in Israel. The chil­dren who go on the trip are con­cerned at first that they might be stung. How­ev­er, the bee­keep­er shows them how he pro­tects him­self and assures them that only he, in his spe­cial suit, will go inside where the bees are. Using a plas­tic bee, the bee­keep­er explains how the girl bees do almost all the work. This includes sip­ping nec­tar from the flow­ers, mak­ing wax to build hon­ey­combs and tak­ing care of the babies and the queen. The queen lays the eggs and boy bees hope to mate with the queen. After the chil­dren get a taste of the hon­ey, they receive beeswax and shape it into can­dles. The book con­cludes with a scene show­ing a child’s abba and ima dip­ping an apple into the hon­ey she has purchased. 

The Fun Facts” at the end of the book are an excel­lent resource. They tell us that there are over 90,000 bee­hives in over 6,000 loca­tions with­in Israel and that there have been clay bee­hives found there that are over 3000 years old. Unique as a resource for Rosh Hashanah, What’s the Buzz guides us on a delight­ful Israeli excur­sion. Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 4 – 7.

Marge Kaplan is a retired Eng­lish as a Sec­ond Lan­guage teacher. She is a con­sul­tant for the children’s lit­er­a­ture group for the Roseville, MN school sys­tem and is a sto­ry­teller of Jew­ish tales.

Discussion Questions