child drawing of a beeCertain books make it easier to teach language. Give me beautiful, clear illustrations, a simple but engaging story and I can use it to work on many different language goals.

The Very Greedy Bee by Steve Smallman is the story of a not so nice bee who spends his time “gobbling pollen and guzzling nectar!” Landing in a meadow of juicy flowers, he declares them his own, with no intention of sharing. As the day progresses he gets fatter and fatter and fatter until he falls fast asleep. Awakened in the dark, he found it impossible to fly home due his rotund tummy. Two friendly fireflies came to his rescue to lead him home, only to encounter another obstacle where the greedy bee had to rely on helpful friends. This turnaround story ends with a honey party and a not so greedy bee!

I used this story with kids on the autism spectrum as well as typical kids working on their articulation skills. The following language goals can be addressed:

  • answering wh-questions-How did the fireflies help with the leaf” “What did the ants do?”
  • completing statements– “The bee couldn’t fly because…
  • talking about emotions and descriptive adjectives: happy, sad, disappointed, greedy, helpful, sharing
  • prediction–“What do you think the lights are? A monster?”
  • descriptions–tell what you see happening on a page
  • beginning, middle and end–tell what changed as the story progressed
  • application–When are you greedy? When do you share? How does that make you feel?
  • preliteracy–point out the fun words in bold print that get kids laughing like “Slurp! Slurp! Burp!”
Reinforce the story with a picture. LIttle Duncan drew a wonderful greedy bee with 13 legs, two circular wings, two antenna (yes the ones on either side of the upper wing), a big smile and he insisted on making a beehive with honey.

The opinions expressed in this review are solely those of the author. “The Very Greedy Bee” was provided for review by Tiger Tales.