A Real Buzz: Read our Review of Bee Detectives by Vanessa Ryan-Rendall and Brenna Quinlan

A Real Buzz: Read our Review of Bee Detectives by Vanessa Ryan-Rendall and Brenna Quinlan

When Olivia and Hamish see a smoky haze coming from their local park, they’re ready to spring into action! But it’s not a fire – it’s a nest of Australian stingless bees that needs their help. Time to give the Bee Detectives a buzz!

Join Olivia and Hamish as they learn about the bees in our backyards. From Blue-banded and Teddy Bear to Carpenter and Leaf-cutter bees, our two budding Bee Detectives discover how our native bees live, what they like to eat and the important work they do to pollinate plants.

Bee Detectives is like a documentary in a picture book – right up my alley! The book starts with an introduction to Native Social Stingless Bees embedded into the smoky haze mystery. The storyline then cleverly shifts to discuss other forms of bees such as Solitary Bees and Teddy Bear Bees.

Brenna Quinlan is an illustrator and educator who strives to make the world a better place through her art and her actions. Author Vanessa Ryan-Rendall has a keen interest in engaging students in literature while learning more about the natural world, and loves helping children build skills in investigating, problem-solving and creative thinking.

Bee Detectives showcases Quinlan and Ryan-Rendall’s motives and creative talents through its seamless ability to combine fact and fiction through illustrations and visual cues in a digestible way.

Here are some of my favourite ways this is portrayed:

  • The illustrations are entertaining and work as a diagram to help young readers easily process what they’re learning in a visual way
  • Change in font colour to orange for sophisticated and scientific terminology
  • Names of bees are in a bold, child-friendly font
  • Tips for attracting Native Australian Bees at the back of the book
  • More information about each bee is introduced at the end of the book

The visual elements of the book have allowed me to remember remarkable facts and new words such as ‘sonication’ – this is when Australian native bees vibrate their bodies to collect pollen. These combined with Olivia and Hamish’s friendly characterisation make you feel like you’re one them, and it’s a sweet and sentimental touch to a factual book.

Perfect for budding entomologists or anyone who wants to explore the wonders of Australia’s native bees, I recommend this for readers aged 5+. Anyone can be a Bee Detective; you just need to step outside.

Reviews

Discussions, Questions and Activities: Teacher’s Notes from Bee Detectives by Vanessa Ryan-Rendall and Brenna Quinlan

Review | Book Life | Extract

28 April 2021

Discussions, Questions and Activities: Teacher’s Notes from Bee Detectives by Vanessa Ryan-Rendall and Brenna Quinlan

Publisher details

Bee Detectives
Author
Vanessa Ryan-Rendall
Publisher
CSIRO Publishing
Genre
Children’s Fiction
Released
01 April, 2021

Synopsis

Join these budding Bee Detectives as they explore the wonders of Australia's native bees. When Olivia and Hamish see a smoky haze coming from their local park, they're ready to spring into action! But it's not a fire – it's a nest of Australian stingless bees that needs their help. Join Olivia and Hamish as they learn about the bees in our backyards. From Blue-banded and Teddy Bear to Carpenter and Leaf-cutter bees, our two budding Bee Detectives discover how our native bees live, what they like to eat and the important work they do to pollinate plants. Explore the wonders of Australia's native bees – and be inspired to become a Bee Detective, too. It's a real buzz!
Brenna Quinlan
About the author

Brenna Quinlan

Brenna Quinlan is an illustrator and educator who strives to make the world a better place through her art and actions. She lives at Australia's most well-known permaculture demonstration site, Melliodora, where she grows food, milks goats, build soil and engages with the community.
Vanessa Ryan-Rendall
About the author

Vanessa Ryan-Rendall

Vanessa Ryan-Rendall is an experienced primary school teacher, gifted education consultant and librarian. She has a keen interest in engaging students in literature while learning more about the natural world, and loves helping children build skills in investigating, problem-solving and creative thinking.

Books by Vanessa Ryan-Rendall

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