A BEE IN BEN'S BONNET :: a relatable introduction to idioms

a bee in ben's bonnet.jpeg

Age guide: 4 to 12

Our oldest boy, who is now an English teacher, had a thing for idioms. He was 15 by the time this book was published but still got a laugh out of it.

The bee in Ben’s bonnet is that he wants his large family to celebrate his birthday but they are all too involved with life to talk to him. 

Each family member has something going on that is described in a well known idiom, for example, ‘Godfather Maurice was burying the hatchet’. The very funny illustrations flesh out the story:

Maurice’s hatchet is being buried in wood for the fireplace. 
Granddad Frank has an axe to grind – literally. 
Cousin Carole was sticking her nose into other people’s business – by smelling cow dung! 
And so on.

Of course it all ends happily when ‘all of Ben’s birthdays had come at once’. Aside from being just plain fun to read, this book also provides a way for children to become familiar with the sound and structure of commonly used idioms. 

I found that it took a long while to read the first few times as we went through and talked about each idiom and what it means and what the picture shows. But eventually it became funny and children would laugh along with the story.

In addition to being helpful in bedding in some of the weirder English language conventions, this book is also great for teaching trust, family love, tenacity, and the joy of surprises.

A BEE IN BEN'S BONNET was written by Ferg McKinnon, illustrated by Kim Gamble

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Names in this book: Ben