Funny bzzzness

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 June, 2011, 12:00am


Don't sting Arthur

Arthur Askey was a tiny British comedian born in 1900. He always wore thick black-rimmed glasses and usually appeared in a smart suit with his hair in a neat parting.

Askey was a popular radio performer. Getting laughs on radio was all about telling funny stories and being amusing with words. He also delighted audiences by singing songs full of silly images, words and ideas.

His most famous comic song was The Bee Song, which seems just a silly song when you first hear it, but when you look at the words, you realise how cleverly it is written.

Askey appeared in TV shows and a few films before he died in 1982.

Watch him perform The Bee Song on YouTube.


Read the lyrics of The Bee Song at and answer these questions.

1 How many verses does the song have?

2 How many lines is each verse?

3 How many times is the chorus repeated, and how long is the chorus?

4 What is the structure of the first two lines of each verse?

5 Make sure you know the meanings of these key words:

a to while away (phrasal verb)

b pollen (n)

c. to pinch (v)

d. to sting (v)

e. honeycomb (n)

f. tripe (n)

g. to tease (v)

h. a maiden (n)

i. a beehive (n)

j. a hedgerow (n)

k. the parson's nose - the lump on the rear end of a cooked chicken

6. Explain the silly image in line 4 of verse 1.

7. What is silly about the last line of the second verse?

8. What sad image does the last verse end with?

9. What is the main activity that the bee gets up to in the first verse?

10. What does the bee do in verses 2 and 3?

Buzz buzz

Onomatopoeia (pronounced ono-mat-o-peer) is when a word sounds like the sound it describes.

A bee buzzes, and the verb 'to buzz' sounds like the noise the bee makes. Onomatopoeia is used a lot for animal noises.

Can you match these verbs to the animal that makes the sound?

1 to oink a. a cow

2 to roar b. a pig

3 to meow c. a sheep

4 to quack d. a duck

5 to bleat e. a lion

6 to moo f. a cat

Busy as a bee

Animal and insect similes can add colour to what you say and write. What have you done this morning? I've been as busy as a bee.

Remember a simile is a figure of speech that compares one thing with another. Can you sort out these popular similes?

1 as blind as a ....

2 as brave as a ....

3 as dead as a ....

4 as free as a ....

5 as gentle as a ....

6 as quiet as a ....

( bat / mouse / lion / fox / dodo / lamb / bird)

Your turn

Get together with three friends and perform The Bee Song. Take turns to do the verses.


Buzz buzz: 1. b, 2. e, 3. f, 4. d, 5. c, 6. a

Busy as a bee: 1. bat, 2. lion, 3. dodo, 4. bird, 5. lamb, 6. mouse