Title: Coco and the Bee
Author: Laura Bunting, illustrated by Nicky Johnston
Publisher: Scholastic Australia
Published: 1st September 2021
Synopsis: Book three in a delightful new series by Laura Bunting, in stunning large format hardback, embossed. Irresistible and adorable illustrations by Nicky Johnston. Destined to be every little girl’s new favourite character. Perfect for fans of Ruby Red Shows, Claris in Paris. Themes: friendship, presumptions, change, adapting, nature, discovery.
Coco is loving her new life in Tabby Valley. There are magical seeds to plant in the garden, and new friends to make. But when Coco meets a bee, and then a boy called Max, Coco realises that things aren’t always what you think they might be.
Coco is already winning hearts everywhere. In this third tail, oops, tale, Coco’s world expands as she makes new friends, learns how to grow strawberries, and finds out that nature, and people, can surprise in delightful, and delightfully sweet ways.
Coco loves her new home in Tabby Valley, and her garden. She’s planting strawberries with her dad. But one day whilst waiting for her strawberries to grow, she spots a bee buzzing around her strawberry pot – she doesn’t want the bee around her strawberries, but the bee has an important lesson to teach her – and one that will make sense when Coco meets Max, the boy next door who Mum has invited over to play.
Coco is uncertain about Max and what he will like to do, and if they will get along. What follows is a beautiful story about friendship, and the similarities and differences that bring us together as friends and make us different – and these can be the things that make us get along and find what we like about each other.
Coco’s story is lovely and continues in a gentle and heartfelt way for younger readers and those seeking a beautiful story that evokes the uncertainty of new friends and what we believe – how our perceptions are changed over time and how we respond to these changes in our lives. Coco has lessons for readers of all ages, and the words dance and fly off the page along with Nicky Johnston’s exquisite water colour illustrations. This is one of those stories that captures the imagination of readers of all ages – those being read to, those reading alone, or those reading to someone younger.
Books like this combine visual literacy and literacy to create a story that can be accessed by a broad spectrum of readers, because the characters and experiences can speak to a broad range of experiences and interests and show that you can like whatever you want to like – that your gender shouldn’t dictate what you like or what people assume you will be like.
I also liked the way these books deal with change and adapting to change in ways that younger readers can understand. It presents the issues as ones they might experience themselves and uses words and events that make sense in their little worlds whilst exploring the beauty of nature and friendship. The Coco books are adorable, and will be well-loved by many readers.