“The Queen Who Banished Bugs,” a children’s’ book written by Ferris Robinson and illustrated by her mother, Mary Ferris Kelly, is a keeper. It entertains from beginning to end! Mean and selfish Queen Libertine rules the kingdom of Dunce (as well as King Claude) with a ruthless iron hand. (Ferris denies her family’s claim that the book is autobiographical.) When she is surveying her perfect fields, a hapless sweat bee has the unfortunate luck of landing on the queen’s heel. Properly irritated, Queen Libertine demands that the whole insect kingdom is exterminated. With no pollinators to fertilize the blossoms, there is no more coffee, tea, peaches, strawberries, watermelon, almonds or any of the queen’s other favorite foods. Imagine this dame without coffee.
Can timid King Claude figure out how to save the day?
This timeless story of the importance of pollinators is told in charming rhyming text, and the illustrations are incredible. Whimsical, they also have lots of edgy subtleties. If you notice very carefully, you’ll see the queen’s dress has unhappy smiley faces on it, but by the end of the book, the sad frowns have turned upside down!
It is easy to see why Mary came out of “semi-retirement” to paint these incredible illustrations; the story line just screamed for her unique and wonderful talent. As you look at each drawing, you’ll notice even more details than you did the time before.
Once I started reading the book, I couldn’t put it down. It is just so clever in the way it teaches a wonderful lesson: Insects are important.
When my granddaughter, Charlotte, and I read the story to her brother, Jack, he “ooohed and aaahed” over the pretty pictures. Charlotte said, “Is it true, Gigi, that bees are good?” Her question, of course, opened up a whole lot of discussion. There is a wonderful tutorial at the end of the book about how pollinators help us survive, reinforcing the book’s invaluable lesson. If you’d like to download a free pollinator poster about how to attract these important pollinators to your corner of the world, go to ferrisrobinson.com.