By Janey Louise Jones
with Jennie Poh
Rating: 4 stars ****
About the Author
Janey Louise Jones has been writing the Princess Poppy series for fifteen years. She lives in Edinburgh. She has three sons.
In this book, join Poppy and her friends as they discover why the bees have
gone missing from Honeypot Hill. Without the bees there will be no more
delicious strawberries, tomatoes, peas or honey treats. What can Princess
Poppy do to save the bees?
Follow the adventures of Princess Poppy and discover nature with her!
Publication date is 7th February. Books can be pre-ordered now. See below for my “Main Purchase Point” element.
Readers may know Princess Poppy from previous titles such as Princess Poppy: Baby Twins or Princess Poppy: Twinkletoes and many others. Princess Poppy has now been given a completely new lease of life by her author Janey Louise Jones and in great style, that is modern in its content and yet still in-keeping in the character that kids know and love. Princess Poppy is now an advocate, activist and junior environmentalist. She is a character that now can be a real source of inspiration and one that children can really build on in their own aspirations as they learn and explore with her in an informal, relaxed way. This book has a clear environmental and science themes to it. The interesting and different thing about this book is that it is a children’s fictional book with big credentials. It is endorsed by Environmental Education Consultant – Paul Lawston and by Head of Nature and Biodiversity for Scottish Government – Hugh Dignon. This book also has a quote given by Dr. Jess French – as seen on Cbeebies channel.
I have to mention the size of the book is excellent for kids to handle and for any teacher and librarian to use for a class or group of children. It is also great for bedtime or quiet time stories at home too. It’s medium in size and is bold with large pictures inside, making it ideal for any group storytime as everyone will be able to see with consummate ease. The illustrations are well conceived, in-line with the text and there is a lovely map at the beginning of the book of where Poppy Princess lives, which is an excellent element. Children of all ages love maps. There is also lots of room for excellent interactivity from counting different creatures to opening discussions about the importance of bees to having fun with a dance to taking the book much further and actually following some of the ideas of the book of having a bee trail and planting seeds. This book has plenty of scope in developing ideas and the imaginations of children and teaching them about science and the environment in an age-appropriate manner.
The story begins with Princess Poppy and her friend Honey visiting their grandpa in the summer to gather fruit. Already there is dialogue there to capture children’s attention.
All three become concerned about the size of the soft fruits and the decreased amount and their attention turns to the lack of bees. As the story moves on, there is talk of both bumblebees and honeybees vanishing. What this serious and timely topic is coupled with is some light-hearted fun too. There’s also talk of a summer fair. The book has plenty that is relatable to children.
Children will be led onwards with Princess Poppy and her friend Honey to discover other people hoping the bees will appear, which turn the two intrepid explorers into detectives on a mystery to discover where all the bees have gone to and end up on a bee trail. Children listening or reading this story will learn on this bee trail the difference between the honey and bumble bees, their different jobs and what bees need to thrive, in a relaxed informal way as it is told in story form, after all this is a fictional book, but with much for them to learn from.
There’s much for children to ponder that is thought-provoking for them, but on a level they will understand and be able to discuss in any group setting or with their parents/guardians.
The story then moves onwards when Princess Poppy and Honey have discovered more about the bees to how to save the bees in a practical way and in time for the summer fair. She contemplates many ways of how to get the word out to the masses that bees need to be saved and that there are simple and practical things that can be done to achieve this. This segment of the story, although has many serious elements to it and has much to teach children, it is done in a relatable way. There’s even a dance called the “Waggle Dance” that children could copy and do to a certain extent, which adds a different element of fun to the story as does dressing up.
Once the story is finished, continue onwards in the book because there are some fantastic bee facts and how to practically help the bees, given to young readers by grandpa. Continue further and young readers and storybook explorers can help Princess Poppy spot the animals and creatures that are in the pictures given in a key chart, that include places such as grandpa’s garden, in the meadow and the hedgerow, which are all located within this book. This I think is a great idea and can be a fun tool to use for parents/guardians and anyone within education and libraries. It is also something fun that children can do with friends or alone.
All in all I would say this is an excellent interactive book for children. It is recommended age 3+, but in my opinion the children who would get the most benefit out of it and most understanding are primary age children, such as primary 1 and primary 2, although 3 and 4 years would also get some element of fun from it. The themes are serious and return books back to having an environmental message within them. There were elements I did feel that could have been expressed in a bit more of a fun way and still have children understand it, especially for the very young, otherwise it would have had 5 stars. On the whole, it is a good paced read. I was also glad it had a happy type of outcome in the end though and had the reasons behind the importance of saving the bees and how to go about doing it. There is enough sensitivity to this book, so children understand the gravitas of the message that is being conveyed without scaring them.
I have read this book to children and they responded well to it and enjoyed it. I found even boys enjoyed this book. So, although it is about a couple of female friends and the main character is Princess Poppy, don’t limit it to only reading it to girls. There’s enough other content within it to appease boys too because they also can be interactive with this book just the same.
All in all these Poppy Princess books would fit perfectly well on anyone’s shelves and would make a great read. It is the type of book that could easily be read more than once as children grow and their understanding develops further in what the story is conveying about the importance of saving bees and how to assist in an age appropriate way in doing this. It is also the type of book that can be used to implement practical activities from to enhance science and environmental studies for young primary children. So, go ahead and add to your Poppy Princess collection or begin it, with this lovely, environmentally conscious book and pre-order it. Publication date is 7th February 2019.
Please continue to read on to find out more about this series of books.
So far in these are the future Princess Poppy titles to look out for in this re-vamped series of books:
* Princess Poppy: Fantastic, no plastic!
* Princess Poppy: The Refugee Princess
* Princess Poppy: Love Our Planet!
*With thanks to Janey Louise Jones for sending me her book and for providing the photographs, information about herself and additional bits of information about this book.
*Please note that this is an impartial review.
Title: Poppy Princess: Please, please save the bees
Author: Janey Louise Jones
Illustrator: Jennie Poh
Publisher: Eden Cooper
Publication Date: 7th February 2019
Limited Hardback Edition
Luxury Softback Edition with environmental credentials, using FSC-certified
Main Purchase Points: Amazon, Book Depository, Foyles, WH Smith, Waterstones