Omar, the Bees and Me


When Omar brings ‘a small slice‘ of his Mum’s honey cake to share at show and tell, it gives Mr Ellory-Jones a fun idea. Could jasmine paper blossom along the school corridor, suggest a snapshot of Omar’s home? There were bees and apricot trees and jasmine bushes where he lived once, a long way, away. There was also his grandfather. Could this paper bee corridor offer a happy reminder?

Maisie’s grandfather keeps bees. As her friendship with Omar grows, she has the fun idea to create a real bee corridor from school, along the busy road, to the park next to Maisie’s Grandad’s garden! Mr Ellory-Jones thinks Maisie’s fun idea is ‘great‘!

Thereafter, envelopes of wildflower seeds are gathered and distributed about the town by Class One. They have to wait for the wildflowers to grow…Through the Christmas show and the greyness of winter, the promise of a new spring and then the wildflowers holds. Could it be that summer will arrive with ‘poppies and cornflowers and foxgloves- all the way from our school to the park’? 

Helen Mortimer’s story is so positive and inspiring. MOMAR (Maisie and Omar) are a united and progressive front for a superbly optimistic and environmental tale. Thereafter, Katie Cottle’s pictures are spectacular, taking in sequence, memory, journeys and hopes with such empathetic colour and considered perspectives. Bookwagon loves Omar, the Bees and Me and recommends it highly to all readers.

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Omar, the Bees and Me

Helen Mortimer and Katie Cottle

(Owlet Press)

Is it possible to create ‘bee corridors’? Let’s find out how with Omar, the Bees and Me. It might all start when Omar brings ‘a small slice of his Mum’s honey cake for show and tell’. Thereafter, he shares how his grandfather kept bees, in the place where he lived once, . What’s more ‘He had apricot trees and jasmine bushes in his sunny garden, a long way away’. 

Mr Ellory- Jones has a ‘fun idea‘ that the children might make paper jasmine blossoms. After that the ‘bee corridor‘ idea seems to grow. Then Maisie has an idea that the bee corridor might spread, maybe through the road and the ‘noisy building site‘ that it links ‘from school to the park’ next to her grandad’s garden.

The energy in this wonderful picture book, the joy and possibilities are contagious! What’s more as we read on, and consider what is around us, Maisie’s initiative, Omar’s growing happiness and sense of place, inspire us with our own hopes, too!

Like The Balcony, we can trace a route from emptiness to fulfilment, loneliness to belonging through Omar, the Bees and Me. Bookwagon adores this Helen Mortimer and Katie Cottle.


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