My daughter and I are fairly new at The Magic School Bus series of books and videos. Not sure how we missed this series! Right now, my daughter is entranced with them all. I see many Magic School Bus books on her bookshelf in the future as she is telling everyone she knows how much she loves them, almost as much as The Magic Tree House series which she already has on her bookshelf! My daughter tends to talk a subject to death, so everything she reads, everyone knows about it. If she learns about electricity, you can bet Grandma will know about electricity and how it works too.
This Magic School Bus book starts out in the classroom as the children learn about insects and bees. Ms. Frizzle says they will be going on a field trip to meet a beekeeper and see his hives. Once they are there, they decide to have a picnic while waiting on the beekeeper to arrive. Ms. Frizzle accidentally drops a jar of honey and knocks a switch that changes the bus into a beehive and the children and Ms. Frizzle into honeybees! Ms. Frizzle tells the class to collect pollen (as bees) to gain entrance into another beehive so they can explore it. They go to flowers and pump out nectar and collect pollen. Then they are sprayed with a scent, so the bees will not know they are not bees. All the kids go into the beehive and give their pollen and nectar to worker bees. They see a bee doing a special dance to tell the other bees where there is more pollen to collect. We had no idea that by watching bees we could interpret the direction of the pollen! The illustrations show how to read the bee’s dances. Then they climb up to see the honeycomb and how each are shaped as hexagons. Each tried to make a perfect shape like the bees, but were unable to do it.
The bees then change nectar into honey by adding chemicals from glands inside their heads. After that, they wave their wings to dry it. The children as bees do the same and also eat some honey. We learn that honey is good for animals and people, but not for babies. The queen bee started laying eggs in each cell and the worker bees fed her and took care of her. Next, we see baby bees in larvae stages and nurse bees feeding them. The children use spoons to feed the baby bees. The illustrations show a baby bee developing into a pupa and see the metamorphosis of them changing into adult bees. The queen bee flies away with many bees from the hive and another adult bee comes out of its cocoon. A second queen bee also came out at the same time and the two began to fight. One died and the other queen papae also were destroyed by the new queen.
Just as the new queen bee went out of the hive to fly for the first time, a big black bear came up to the hive. All the bees and the children try to sting the bear to protect the hive, but the stings will not penetrate his thick fur. Ms. Frizzle got a great idea by going back into the bus (that was changed into a beehive earlier and has spilled honey in it) and leading the bear away from the hive. The honey bounced out of the bus and the bear stopped chasing them. The children ended the day by making honeybuns.
All throughout the story we read facts all around the text of the storyline such as “A queen bee can sting many times.” I did not know that! The illustrations are in color and show us inside a beehive in close-up pictures. The children are changed into bees; they are wearing a bee body suit with wings. Also, many colorful diagrams show us the inside of a flower and parts of a bee. My daughter enjoyed learning about bees and how bees make honey. Even I learned many facts that I did not know! Recommended for 1st grade level and up. Educational fun book that is magical; children learn so much by reading the series.
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