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Children's Nonfiction Insects, Spiders, Etc.

What's the Buzz?

Keeping Bees in Flight

by (author) Merrie-Ellen Wilcox

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Sep 2015
Insects, Spiders, etc., Environmental Science & Ecosystems, Environmental Conservation & Protection
Recommended Age
9 to 12
Recommended Grade
4 to 7
Recommended Reading age
9 to 12
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2015
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2015
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


All over the world, bee colonies are dwindling, but everyone can do something to help save the bees, from buying local honey to growing a bee-friendly garden.

Whether they live alone or together, in a hive or in a hole in the ground, bees do some of the most important work on the planet: pollinating plants. What’s the Buzz? celebrates the magic of bees—from swarming to dancing to making honey—and encourages readers to do their part to keep the hives alive.

About the author

Merrie-Ellen Wilcox is a writer and editor in Victoria, British Columbia. She is the author of What's the Buzz?: Keeping Bees in Flight, which is part of the Orca Footprints series and After Life: Ways We Think About Death, which was short-listed for both the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award and the Norma Fleck Award. When several huge Garry oak trees were cut down at the end of her street to make way for a parking lot, she became a passionate defender of the trees and the ecosystem they are parts of. She studied ecological restoration at the University of Victoria and continues to naturescape her garden.


Merrie-Ellen Wilcox's profile page


  • Nominated, Young Readers' Choice Book Awards of British Columbia (YRCABC) Red Cedar Book Awards
  • Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award (RMBA)
  • Short-listed, Animal Behavior Society Outstanding Children’s Book Award
  • Short-listed, The Fitzhenry Family Foundation Lane Anderson Award
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens
  • Short-listed, Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable Information Book Award
  • Commended, Junior Library Guild (JLG) Gold Standard Selection

Editorial Reviews

"The interest that Merrie-Ellen Wilcox has in bees and her concern about their future comes through in all aspects of the text...What’s the Buzz? is a well-written overview of bees which shows how important they are as well as the perils that bees face and what people can do to help bee populations survive. Highly Recommended."

CM Magazine

"Beautifully presented, this text will fascinate both young readers and adults alike...Highly recommended for an elementary school library resource centre."

Resource Links

"Keeping bees in flight is thoroughly explained in this well-written book about the life and times of bees. In each of the four chapters, the author examines how the 20,000 known species of bees live, survive, and keep fruits and plants growing...Bee enthusiasts will find this book to be an easy, quick read. The photographs and illustrations are timely and vibrant. Children will discover new and old facts that will help them keep bees in flight."

School Library Connection

"A cheery introduction to honeybees and their wild cousins. Wilcox covers a lot of territory in a brief book, notably including quite a lot of information about bumblebees and other undomesticated bees as well as a healthy helping of facts about honeybees...Wilcox's tone is upbeat...[and] her enthusiasm for her subject is both genuine and infectious."

Kirkus Reviews

"Lots of excellent pictures accompany an easily accessible and attractive format loaded with essential and interesting information about bees...An excellent resource for research projects but should also be a must read to inform everyone about the plight of bees and how essential they are to life on earth."

Youth Services Book Reviews blog

"Written by an experienced apiculturist, this book is an introduction to the basics of bee physiology and behavior, dispelling many common myths of this ubiquitous insect. Wilcox celebrates the incredible diversity of bee species and the products that they provide...This eye-opening book is a call to action, encouraging kids to plant flower gardens, support local farms, and raise awareness of the mysterious plight of disappearing bees. Full-color close-up photos and helpful diagrams add plenty of visual appeal."


"[A] thorough and fascinating look at these insects...Wilcox, who describes her own foray into beekeeping in the introduction, raises and answers...questions in easy prose. Great photos of kids, bees, and hives enhance the text...A useful option for science teachers and students curious about bees and ecology."

School Library Journal

Other titles by Merrie-Ellen Wilcox

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