Omar, The Bees and Me
Rarely does one come across a book that is so remarkable it makes one wish they had read it as a child. Mortimer and Cottle’s stunning picturebook weaves a heartwarming tale of Maisie and Omar, the new boy at school.
At first glance it seems to be a simple story, in which Show and Tell, a classroom activity, inspires a group of children to explore sustainability through caring for bees. But Omar, the Bees and Me also touches on inclusivity and diversity in a sweet and subtle way. It not only represents people from all walks of life but also shows how shared interests bring people together and make everyone feel welcome.
Mortimer and Cottle, through a perfect blend of words and pictures, create a spectacularly colourful world. Cottle’s illustrations are endearing, with many set on a white background – framing and giving distinction to these ordinary moments. Mortimer uses accessible language and gives the children the voice in the story. The spreads containing children’s handwriting again reinforce their importance too. The recipe featured in the story and given at the end of the book makes the story all the sweeter.
As a teacher, it is very exciting to come across this picturebook. The learning possibilities are infinite for the classroom. The peaceful conclusion to the story will also encourage a restful night’s sleep for younger children. A must have for every classroom and bookshelf.