After working together to obtain honey, the African honey badger always shares it with his partner, the honeyguide bird, until one day when the honey badger becomes greedy and his feathered friend decides to teach him a lesson.
The African plains provide a stunning environment for Jan Brett's latest animal adventure. For as long as anyone can remember, the honeyguide bird and the African honey badger have been partners when it comes to honey: Honeyguide finds the honeycomb, Badger breaks it open, and they share the sweetness inside. But this day, Badger keeps all the honey for himself. Foolish Badger! In no time, Honeyguide leads Badger on a fast chase. Badger thinks it's for honey; but Honeyguide has a surprise waiting for her greedy friend.
As they swim across a pond, push through a thicket of reeds, leap over a huge anthill, a menagerie of exotic animals passes the news along in a kind of animal Bush Telegraph. Finally Badger faces a lift-the-flap page, revealing the twist that teaches Badger a lesson. Can you guess who's under that flap?
This title is based on the legend of the honeyguide, an African bird that leads an animal to a honeycomb and then shares the spoils once the stronger creature has broken it open. In Brett's version, Honeyguide takes revenge upon a greedy honey badger that refuses to share the sweet treat. She leads him on a merry chase that ends up not at a honeycomb but at the lair of a lion. Badger's pursuit of the honeyguide and flight from the lion are reminiscent of -We're Going on a Bear Hunt, - with each landmark and sound effect revisited on the return journey. Brett has created another lush winner with beautifully detailed illustrations of the animals and a clear, fast-paced story. Honeyguide's anger and subsequent punishment of Badger is witnessed by the other animals that form a bush telegraph, passing news along from individual to individual. This process is visualized on the edges of each page in typical Brett style -a story within a story. This lovely title works equally well for storyhours or for one-on-one sharing. Readers interested in other versions of the legend can check out Francesca Martin's "The Honey Hunters" (Candlewick, 1994)." -Kara Schaff Dean, Needham Public Library, MA"
Copyright 2005 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Brett's ("The Umbrella") intricately detailed watercolor and gouache art spotlights the wildlife of Botswana's Okavango Delta, where the winged honeyguide, a sparrow-like bird, and a honey badger (whose markings resemble a skunk's) "are partners when it comes to honey." The little bird routinely guides Badger to beehives, where he uses his strong claws to break open the honeycomb and "together they share the sweetness." But one day, after Badger refuses to share, and the sly bird teaches him a lesson. She leads Badger over land and water crying, "Honey, honey, honey!" and brings him to an acacia tree. However, with a lift of the flap, readers discover that the tree's low-hanging branches camouflage not a hive but rather a ferocious-looking lion (one paw in evidence offers a clue). "Lion, lion, lion!" reads the text as the angry cat chases Badger (""Swish, swish" through the grass... "Boom, boom" over the hollow log") while Brett offers readers a stunning tour of this diverse and unique landscape. Badger reaches his burrow in the nick of time, and the delta's denizens spread the tale's humorous yet important moral about the importance of expressing appreciation. The spry narrative incorporates sound effects that make this a natural read-aloud, and the high spot is surely Brett's meticulous renderings of African animals and vegetation, presented against a parchment-like backdrop and framed by striking borders featuring beads and feathers. Readers may well feel as if they, like the author, have visited breathtaking Botswana. Ages 4-8. "(Aug.)"
Copyright 2005 Publishers Weekly Used with permission.