A cycle of logical syllogisms takes readers from the title stipulation through a series of conclusions that ends at the beginning. It’s hard to argue with the logic. “If you love honey, / Then you must love honey bees. // If you love honey bees, / It’s no wonder you love dandelions.” Each statement appears on a double-page spread accompanied by a related fact: bees must visit about 2 million flowers to produce a pound of honey, for instance. The chain of affection extends from dandelions to ladybugs to goldenrod to butterflies to clover to the soil to earthworms to mushrooms to oak trees to blue jays to blackberries and back to honeybees and honey. While some of the connections are a bit of a stretch, the short explanatory text generally explains the logic, and it is summarized in the backmatter. Morrison’s illustrations are crisp if a bit on the stiff side, and they include many details not mentioned in the text, such as a family of bears on a honey raid fleeing angry guard bees and a whole host of insects, amphibians, and other fauna that inhabit this bucolic environment. The beekeeper is assisted by an African-American child, who shares a picnic with her Caucasian friend, who provides the berries. Copious backmatter provides further information on pollination, honeybees and other beneficial insects, and flowers and seed spreaders, as well as activities and Web resources. A neat look at connections many children can see in action. (Informational picture book. 5-8)
–Kirkus Reviews – Vicky Smith (June 2015)
Rather than approaching one concept in isolation, this new book shows the reader how everything affects or is affected by other things and demonstrates the delicate balance of our planet. Honey is made by honey bees, who gather nectar from dandelions. Dandelions are protected by ladybugs, who also love goldenrod. Goldenrod attracts butterflies, who also love clover. Clover needs rich soil, provided in part by earthworms. Mushrooms help speed up the earthworm’s work. Mushrooms work in tandem with oak trees, whose leaves hide many creatures and whose acorns feed are planted by birds. Birds also eat berries, which are pollinated by the honey bees, bringing the story full circle.
Throughout the story, master illustrator Morrison sets the scene and shows that the items discussed in the text are even less isolated than imagined. Bears examine the honey repository. A farm and other flowers are near the dandelions. Sheep, protected by a dog, graze near the goldenrod. Rabbits much on the clover. Tree roots, baby bunnies, a lizard, and a toad appear in the rich soil. People work and play.
Second graders can learn so much about the nature in their backyards from this book. Literacy skills will be enhanced by the wonderful visuals and scientific concepts. Read aloud in a classroom, students can spot the details and discuss the connections.
–Grade Reading – Sue Poduska (July 6, 2015)
If You Love Honey is vibrant and engaging with warm, lifelike, and impressively accurate art
that remembers the young audience the book is written for. Parallel sections of text throughout
the book effectively lead the reader through the pages. The theme text is repetitive and playful,
while the more instructional sections are informative but still easily accessible and interesting
to a young audience.
–Randy L. Seagraves, Curriculum Coordinator, International Junior
Master Gardener Program (March 20, 2015)
If You Love Honey takes its readers on a beautifully illustrated adventure through the
intertwining natural world around us. It highlights the work of our bees, linking golden honey
on bread to the earthworms crawling underground, and everything in-between. Children
will be fascinated by this tale.
–Sarah Red-Laird, Bee Girl, Executive Director, American
Beekeeping Federation, Kids and Bees Program Director (March 30, 2015)