As the director of the children’s literature department at HCS Publishing, I had the distinct pleasure of working with Jessica Hughes. Congratulations, Hughes, for the publication of Humble and Grumble: The Bumblebee Brothers!
Hughes told me the inspiration for this story came from two real life bees at the park. One was buzzing around happily while the other was just lazing on the sidewalk. When her daughter asked about the bees, Hughes’ creative imagination kicked in and she named them “Humble and Grumble.”
From her quick thinking came the story of two brother bees whose outlook on life could not be more opposite.
I appreciated Hughes’ desire to create a book that is sweet, fun, and endearing to help her daughters (and now that it’s published, other children!) learn the effect your attitude has on your life.
Humble and Grumble is not overly didactic. Instead it is a simple story about to brother bees who respond differently to what happens throughout their day. There are underlying messages that are powerful.
Humble learns to acknowledge what Grumble is going through, and most importantly does not expect him to change overnight.
Grumble realizes his outlook can make a difference, and acknowledges that he can make some small changes to help his circumstances.
Another aspect I love about this book is the poetry. Some of you may know how extremely difficult it is to get poetry right in picture books (and how extremely important it is to do so!). Poetry is so hard to nail a lot of editors / agents will say flat out they don’t accept it.
Hughes relied on her musical background and love for singing to create the cadence for this book, and it reads like she’s written poetry her whole life. It did not take her very many edits to create the final here, and I was so proud to see her work through such a tough challenge.
I am very happy for this new picture book added to the HCS Publishing publications. It was an honor to work with Hughes, and I am excited to say this only the beginning for her. Please support her, and enjoy the story of two brother bees.