Betsie Valentine, a spirited young girl, embarks on a magical adventure learning about the secret life of honeybees.

Betsie looking out of bedroom window.jpg
 

 

I am a retired photographer. I lead a Singing For The Brain group on behalf of the Alzheimer’s Society, keep horses, have two dogs and a small apiary; at no time did I think to myself I would sit down and write a book. However, for some reason various things came together all at once resulting in the creation of Betsie Valentine.

In 2015 my son and his wife gave birth to their first child and named him Hewey Valentine. I loved the name! Absolutely delighted with the birth of my first grandchild I asked them, having three sons and two nephews, what they would have called a daughter and they said “Betsie Valentine.” Immediately I conjured up an image of what my granddaughter would have looked like and strangely that likeness stayed firmly in my mind.

About 6 months after the birth of Hewey, I was at my apiary inspecting my bees when I noticed one had landed on my cuff. This isn’t unusual as many bees buzz around you and come to rest on your bee suit during the course of an inspection. However, I am not sure why but this little bee caught my attention and I stopped what I was doing and watched her for a while. She wandered around and then she appeared to stop what she was doing and watch me. While apparently looking at each other, from out of nowhere, a rhyme popped into my head.

Are you looking at me little bee?

Are you looking at me?

My name is Betsie Valentine

And that begins with a B.

 

I looked at her more closely and said the rhyme out loud and she turned in a circle and then looked back at me. I immediately went over to my beekeeping notes and wrote the rhyme down. The little honeybee stayed with me a while longer before she flew off. Perhaps she had been having a well earned rest! I finished the inspection all the time repeating this little poem over and over and then in the car, on my way home, I went on from the first verse and said..

Are you looking at me little bee?

Are you looking at me?

My name is Betsie Valentine

And I would love to be a bee!

 

Fortunately, I live down a bridle path so I was able to stop the car and write this down before I forgot what I had just said. As soon as I got home I leapt out of my car and ran into the kitchen and told my husband I was going to write a book about a little girl, who through the power of a magical rhyme, turns in to a honeybee so she can learn all bout their lives inside and outside of the hive. And yes, I said it that quickly without taking a breath! He stared at me blankly as I grabbed a pen and paper and started to scribble down notes as the thoughts came flooding in.

I felt that this magical little poem had been given to me as a gift - é voilà - Betsie Valentine was born!

Along this extraordinary path I met Tegan Sherrard, an accomplished artist and illustrator, whose work reminded me of my mothers art.  She could not have been more perfect for the job of helping to bring Betsie Valentine to life.  I never tire of looking through the book at her remarkable pictures.

I had, while writing, and still do have, a feeling of great excitement about this book. Betsie Valentine And The Honeybees is a unique and beautifully illustrated adventure that is totally in sync with the current environmental concerns.