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The Picture Book Buzz

Thank You Bees - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

The rain has returned to the Pacific Northwest and the animals and bees are scurrying around collected the last of the food and pollen before it starts freezing. Having been so dry this summer, I am thankful for the rain.

As the weather and the house cool down, smells of fresh pies and cobblers fill the air. As the last of the summer fruit ripens it is the perfect time to remember to thank the hardworking bees - without whom there would be no fruit crops - and nature in general. I found the perfect book.

Thank You Bees

Author/Illustrator: Toni Yuly

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Ages: 2-5



Nature and gratitude.

Synopsis (from Barnes & Noble):

This gentle message of gratitude and connection, enhanced by beautifully simple collage illustrations, makes for a charming gift.

Sun gives us light. Thank you, sun.

Clouds bring the rain that makes puddles to splash in. Sheep give us wool for our sweaters and hats. The honey that sweetens our bread comes from bees (thank you, bees). With spare, repetitive text and bright, torn-paper collage artwork, this picture book gives even the youngest readers a subtle sense of how everyday things are related — and inspires an appreciation for life’s simple gifts.

Opening Lines;

Sun gives us light.

Thank you, sun.

Bees give us honey.

Thank you, bees.

What I like about this book:

While seemingly a simple book, Toni Yuly masterfully shows a child discovering where food, honey, wood, and rain come from.

This is a minimalist cause and effect story, which never outright states the connection. The next page shows two sheep, one fluffy and one (shorn?) under a blanket, with the text - "Thank you, sheep." It's fun that the child's sweater resembles the lamb's wool.

Toni Yuly uses fun torn paper, bright colors, and digital illustration to connect some dots for younger children, while leaving them to verbalize the connection. After telling us that "Trees give us wood," Toni shows a tree fort, a fence, a bird house, and a bird collecting a twig for its nest. Subtly, in addition to continuing the sentiment of gratitude, she also shows the renewability of the resources she mentions.

Finally, it all comes together at the end with gratitude to the earth for providing a home (for us and the little bird). It is at once simple and complex, opening many avenues for discussion about science, weather, sustainability, pesticides, and respect for the interconnectedness of everything on the planet. It is an excellent example of the depth of succinct text and the weight of illustrations.


- explore science, spelling, and math activities with bees (;

- make your own bee ( or torn paper tree;

- plant a bean, a sunflower in a glass container & watch the roots grow, or plant a pollinator friendly garden or a tree; or

- go outside and watch a bee on a flower or a bird collecting food or nesting materials.

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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