"Joseph and the Bumble Bee or Be Bee Careful" is a tale of how the bubble of a pleasant summer's day is suddenly pricked and burst when events turn ominously awry on the ill-advised experiment of a young boy with a bee and a flower.
Bees can be fascinating to observe. Observed at close range through young eyes, there is much to discover about the wonderment of their movement and activities. But mixing bees with curiosity, shaking a few times, and making some choices without considering consequences, can lead to a painful self-inflicted lesson.
As a somewhat bumbling anti-hero, Joey tries his hand at capturing a bee inside a flower, an activity that only stays interesting for a short while. He should have had a better exit strategy – and should have resisted that urge for one more look. The bee has a perspective on the predicament, too. The sting of real life continues for Joey as one untoward consequence cascades to the next, the brave, heroic efforts of Aunt Emily do not succeed, and Joseph's contagious calamity spreads to claim another victim. But in the end pie helps quell the pain.
This story has its lessons – lessons about learning from observation of nature and the ambient world, lessons about learning the hard way when there is a failure to listen to advice or to heed common sense, and lessons about the healing qualities of baking soda paste and pie.
Told with a bit of wit and whimsy in both the writing and 39 illustrations, this book should appeal to children of all ages, and is an enjoyable read for adults, too.