January 18, 2018

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Honey by David Ezra Stein | SLJ Review

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redstarSTEIN, David Ezra. Honey. illus. by ­David Ezra Stein. 32p. Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Bks. Mar. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781524737863.

PreS-Gr 2 –The curious young bear from Leaves returns for “his second year,” fresh from hibernation and eager for the taste of honey. Though he can remember it ­perfectly, “spicy, aromatic, sparkling with sunlight,” he soon realizes that it’s too early in the season to find any honey. In the meantime, the other delights of spring and summer beckon, and the bear relishes warm grass, bursting berries, and rushing rain as he waits for the telltale buzz that heralds his favorite treat. Highlighting the natural greens and golds of summer, Stein’s pen-and-watercolor illustrations are suffused with loose, childlike exuberance, while their relatively small scale (each page is bordered with ample white space) invites a sense of intimacy, drawing readers into the bear’s anticipation and eventual satisfaction. Throughout, the art balances the straightforward sensory details of the text, with some actions described and others—such as a well-deserved bee sting on the nose—purely visual (“Busy bees don’t like to be bothered.”). ­VERDICT A seasonal read with storytime potential and staying power, Honey is not to be missed.–Rebecca Honeycutt, NoveList, Durham, NC

This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2018 issue.

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