The Good Bee by Alison Benjamin & Brian McCallum

Welcome to Halfman, Halfbook for my stop on the Blog Tour for The Good Bee by Alison Benjamin & Brian McCallum and published by Michael O’Mara Books


About the Book


Bees are our most loyal ally. These fascinating, enigmatic creatures are a key lynchpin in the working of our planet. Without them, the landscape, as well as every aisle in our supermarkets would look radically different. 

And we’re not just talking about honey bees. There are more than 20,000 species of bee worldwide and only a handful make honey. Some live in colonies and others are solitary. We can all help protect them – and they desperately need protecting – but you can’t save what you don’t love. And you can’t love what you don’t know. 

The Good Bee is a celebration of this most vital and mysterious of nature’s wizards. Here you’ll discover the complexities of bee behaviour – as well as the bits that still baffle us – the part they play in the natural world, their relationship with us throughout history, how they are coming under threat and what we can all do about it.

Beautifully produced, with hand-made illustrations throughout, it is a story for our times and a book to treasure.


About the Authors

Alison Benjamin

Alison is the co-founder of Urban Bees. She is a Guardian journalist and co-author of Keeping Bees and Making Honey, A world without Bees and Bees in the City; an urban beekeepers’ handbook. In her spare time, she assists Brian in a voluntary capacity by writing blogs, giving talks and developing partnerships to improve forage and habitat for bees and pollinators in towns and cities. She tweets @alisonurbanbees

Brian McCallum

Brian runs Urban Bees. He is a qualified teacher and works part-time as a seasonal bee inspector for the government. He is also a member of the Bee Farmer’s Association and the co-author of three books on bees, Keeping Bees and Making Honey, and A World without Bees and Bees in the City; an urban beekeepers’ handbook.

Brian provides tailored beekeeping training for a number of corporate clients and other organisations. He educates children, young people and adults about bees, writes blogs and tweets @Beesinthecity. He’s part of a team that’s designed a bee trail app to count bees, and raise awareness about bees and forage in King’s Cross.

Brian and Alison live in Hackney, east London.


My Review

Bees and almost all other insects are in deep trouble. There has been a catastrophic collapse of insects in the past few years, some species are down 40% and it is not getting any better. They are an essential part of the natural world, almost everything relies on them for food, either to eat or to pollinate plants that then feed us. Supermarket shelves are going to be much more sparse if we were to lose them, especially the bees.

When you mention bees, people generally think of honey bees, the subtle coloured insects that buzz lazily around the flowers in the summer or the huge bumblebees that defy gravity with their tiny wings. In total, all round the world thought there are 20,00 species and they are all pollinators. Some live in colonies but most are solitary, finding little holes to live in. The fact is that a lot of these solitary bees are much better pollinators than the regular honey bee. Most importantly they all need our protection.

In this charming little book, Alison Benjamin & Brian McCallum take us on a journey in the world of the bee. In here you can learn about the body parts of the bee, some of the species that you can see around your garden and the wonderful names that they have, like Buff Tailed and Pantaloon. There are details on how they make wax and honey, their lifecycles and some of the history of the partnership we have had with them.

Most importantly, there are details on what you can do to help them, for example, the best plants to fill your garden with and how to make bee hotels for the solitary bees. It is a timely book too, as it is slowly dawning on people that we need to look after the whole ecosystem because of the interconnected links between everything. There are schemes like this here that are aiming to get as many gardens with the right plants for insects. Get involved and make a difference.


Don’t forget to visit the other blogs on the blog tour



Buy this book at your local independent bookshop. If you’re not sure where your nearest is then you can find one here

My thanks to Bethany at Michael O’Mara Books for the copy of the book to read.

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  1. Welp! I was totally one of the people who assumed that all bees made honey before I read your review – sounds like I REALLY need to read this book! I’m really concerned about declining bee populations, and I’ve half-heartedly googled what I can do to help, but I’m always really skeptical of the information I find and it all seems to contradict. This book sounds like the way to go, thank you!

    • admin

      It is a delightful little book, Sheree

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