What's the Buzz?
Honey for a Sweet New Year
Visit a bee farm, and follow the bees as they carry “kisses” from flower to flower and return to their hives with their tummies full of nectar. Learn how the honey is extracted from the combs and makes its way from the hive to the table, to be enjoyed with slices of apples for a Rosh Hashanah treat.
|Interest Level||Preschool - Grade 5|
|Reading Level||Grade 3|
|Publisher||Lerner Publishing Group|
|Imprint||Kar-Ben Publishing ®|
|Number of Pages||32|
Jewish Book World
“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.”—Jewish Book World
American Jewish World
“Kar-Ben Publishing, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, has released three delightful books for young readers who want to learn more about the upcoming High Holidays. Both Rosh Hashana and Sukkot are represented in the offerings, and they will brighten up and holiday gathering.
What’s the Buzz? Honey for a Sweet New Year
Take a trip to an Israeli bee farm in the third book in Allison Ofananky and Eilyahu Alpern’s ‘Nature in Israel’ series on Jewish holidays. In this latest book, author Ofanansky and photographer Alpern travel to the Dvorat Hatavor Bee Farm and Education Center at Moshav Shadmot Dvora in Lower Galilee to see how honey is made for Rosh Hashana.
Readers accompany a group of children for a tour led by a guide named Yigal, who explains how the bees create the honeycomb, why beekeepers put hives in orchards and how bees carry ‘kisses’ from flower to flower. The children are also given the opportunity to taste the honey and to make candles from beeswax.
Ofanansky writes the book from the point of view of one of the children on tour, and each highlight is documented with one of Alpern’s vivid photographs.
The only downside to the book is that it ends far too quickly. It leaves you wanting more information about the process of making honey and how such small bees can produce so much. Perhaps to compensate, Ofanansky includes “Fun facts” at the end of the book. Among those is the fact that there are 90,000 beehives in more than 6,000 locations around Israel, and most of the honey they produce is sold around Rosh Hashana.
The other two books in the ‘Nature in Israel’ series are Harvest of Light and Sukkot Treasure Hunt. This book is intended for ages 3-8.
Talia and the Rude Vegetables
Talia is a city girl who is visiting her grandmother in the country for Rosh Hashana. And she is very confused when she mishears her grandmother’s request to collect ‘rude’ vegetables from the garden—such as onions, garlic, turnips and potatoes (root vegetables).
And so begins Talia’s quest to find the rudest vegetables in Grandma’s garden that will make a holiday stew.
Author Linda Elovitz Marshall has crafted a cute story that starts with Talia’s initial confusion, but ends with her performing a holiday mitzvah. Along the way, the reader is introduced to seven root vegetables that Talia describes in her own special way.
The character of Talia has her own unique brand of reasoning. She is a good-hearted girl who is trying her best to find the vegetables that her grandmother most wants. Full-page, colorful illustrations by Francesca Assirelli bring this delightful young girl to life.
Of course, when her grandmother finds out how she chose the ‘rude’ vegetables and what she did with the rest, she is very proud of her independent and resourceful granddaughter. In the end, Talia teaches all of us that the rudest vegetables can often make the tastiest stew.
This book is intended for ages 3-8.
Sadie’s Sukkah Breakfast
Sadie’s Sukkah Breakfast is the first in the new ‘Sadie and Ori’ series that catches up with the younger brother and sister on each Jewish holiday. And this lovely first installment is a wonderful introduction to Sukkot.
Author Jamie Korngold, a rabbi, has crafted a simple story about Sadie and Ori’s unioque interpretation of the traditions of Sukkot. Together with their family, the pair has erected a sukka in their backyard, complete with paper chains, strings of popcorn and fruit mosaics they had made in Sunday school.
When they want to serve an ‘elegant breakfast’ in their sukka, they realize that they will need guests. But no one is awake, so whom can they invite?
Whimsical watercolor illustrations by Julie Fortenberry seem to move with the story, creating a special world for Sadie and Ori. As the story progresses, it’s difficult to refrain from smiling and from loving these well-intentioned children—and those with whom they share their Sukkot traditions.
Up next for Sadie and Ori will be Sadie and the Big Mountain (Shavuot) and Sadies’s Almost Marvelous Menorah (Hanukkah). This book is intended for ages 2-6.
“Ofanansky and Alpern offer a fresh take on Rosh Hashanah with this picture book tour of a bee farm. Readers follow a children’s class as students are shown how bees make honey. Color photographs and a running narrative combine to produce an easy-to-grasp book that is about science but also about culture; honey plays a part in celebrations of Rosh Hashanah, when apples or challah are dipped in the viscous liquid and eaten, symbolizing the wish for a sweet new year. Children who dislike insects may be put off by the pictures of swarms of bees, one of which is the main element on the cover. But young scientists and naturalists will appreciate the detail, and parents and educators will welcome a new way to talk about a familiar holiday.” — Publishers Weekly
Photographer: Eliyahu Alpern
Born and raised outside Chicago and now living in Israel, photographer Eliyahu Alpern has been interested in food, travel, and photography since childhood. He's been a musician, cougar rehabilitator, vegetarian chef, organic farmer and multi-media maven. His photographic specialty is 360-degree panoramic images of Israel. He lives in the Upper Galilee with his family.
Author: Allison Ofanansky
Allison Ofanansky, born in the U.S., moved to Israel and became an Israeli citizen in 1996. She lives in the village of Kaditah near the mystical city of Safed, with her husband Shmuel and daughter Aravah. They enjoy hiking the hills of the Galilee, gathering and eating the fruits that grow there. They are involved in environmental and eco-peace projects.