Book review | Buzzled! Bee-themed junior puzzles

Buzzled!: Bee-themed Junior Puzzle Book. Copyright © 2017 by Gumfish Publishing. Paperbound. For ages 7-12.

When I saw this book advertised, I decided to buy a copy as a gift. I love puzzles myself, and I thought it might be good for a smart six-year-old. And wouldn’t you know, I like it so much I (almost) didn’t want to give it away.

The book is designed for kids aged about 7 to 12 years. It is 8½ x 11 inches and is in the style of a coloring book—black outline drawings on white paper. But instead of just pictures to color it has all types of puzzles: crosswords, mazes, Sudoku, word search, find the difference, word scramble, odd one out, logic, fact or fiction, jokes, and others.

Each of the 108 puzzles is somehow related to bees. For example, one of the word searches is based on Ten Gardening Tips for Bees. One of the crosswords is based on pollination terms. In another, you can follow the honey bee dance movements to learn the name of the dance. Cute.

Not just honey bees

The book claims to feature honey bees, bumble bees, mason bees, mining bees, leafcutter bees, carpenter bees, and wool carder bees, and it lives up to this promise. Puzzles explain what these different bees do and what makes them unique.

The funny thing is, I’ve met plenty of adults who could learn something here. Buzzled! explains why bees are known as invertebrates, which of the foods in your lunch box are pollinated by bees, and why “honey bee” is two words. In it’s own charming way it also demonstrates how honey bees are different from bumble bees, the signature work of a leafcutter bee, and how a mason bee nest looks from the inside. It also explains what the names “Anthidium” and “Xylocopa” actually mean. After puzzling through this book, your eight-year-old may teach you a thing or two.

Just the facts

I find it odd that there is no author listed—only Gumfish Publishing, which I suspect is somewhere other than the US. The other thing I find odd is that I haven’t yet found any factual errors in the book. In most bee books for adults, I usually find at least one factual error in the first five pages. This has me perplexed. Perhaps the author should write a puzzle book for the rest of us.

So if you have a budding beekeeper or a young melittologist on your holiday list, consider this book. Order early so you can read through it and learn the answers before someone asks you a lot of uncomfortable questions! Buzzled! is currently available on Amazon and elsewhere.
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  • I’ve found a bee sheltering outside last night under a leaf in really bad weather. I put it on a lavender plant and brought the plant into my conservatory and covered the plant with a mesh bin so it can breathe and I can see if it’s ok. This morning it’s alive and moving about I’d prefer to let it go but it’s 50 mph+ winds outside. I can put the plant outside in a sheltered place or should I leave it until the wind drops?