Odd Couple: Honeybee and Horsefly by Randy Cecil
HONEYBEE WAS TIRED. SO HE YAWNED AND PLOPPED DOWN INSIDE A FLOWER FOR A NAP.
BUT A HORSEFLY WAS ALREADY INSIDE.
THEY HAD A FIGHT.
IT WASN'T PRETTY.
HORSEFLY LOST A WING. HONEYBEE LOST A WING, TOO.
Horsefly and Honeybee are now on foot, and disgusted with this unfortuitous turn of events, set out to trudge cross-country for home.
But as they soon discover, being an impromptu pedestrian is the least of their worries. In due course of time both are captured by a hungry frog, and the two former enemies find themselves together in reluctant captivity on a lily pad in the middle of a pond while Bullfrog forages for a bit more food, a tad of tasteful variety for his upcoming repast.
What a revolting development this is! The two are unable to swim for it, and with only one wing each, neither can fly away from what will soon be Bullfrog's dinner plate. What to do?
As author Cecil sagely quotes in his author's note, "We are each of us angels with only one wing, and we can only fly by embracing one another." (Luciano De Crescenzo), the two bugs combine their assets, and in an unlikely alliance manage to cooperate well enough to flap away on their combined wings just out of the reach of the long and tacky tongue of the frog. Bullfrog watches his dinner as it flies floppily but effectively away:
"DRAT!" SAID BULLFROG.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and Honeybee and Horsefly form a marriage of convenience that seems their only way out of their self-inflicted situation, finally finding a new napping place in a safe flower and a new partner in flight.
"Politics makes strange bedfellows," says the old proverb, and Randy Cecil's newest, Horsefly and Honeybee (Henry Holt, 2012) is a simple but powerful parable that applies broadly across much of human life. We're all stranded on the same lily pad, Cecil seems to be saying, and to quote yet another famous saying, reinforces the message that "In union there is strength." Kids will love listening to this one several times over and chiming in on the "Drats," but they will also sense the subtly delivered truth that sometimes we have to drop our differences, pool our powers, and get this thing off the ground before we all go down the tubes! Comic illustrated characters and a bright palette help get this little cautionary tale take off as a story time treat.