________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 10 . . . . November 4, 2011


The Honeybee Man.

Lela Nargi. Illustrated by Kyrsten Brooker.
New York, NY: Schwartz & Wade Books, Distributed in Canada by Random House Canada,2011.
32 pp., hardcover, $19.99.
ISBN 978-0-375-84980-0.

Subject Headings:
Honey bee-Fiction.
Bee culture-Fiction.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Wendy Williams.

**** /4



Near the edge of the roof is another, tiny city. It has three houses, each with two white stories and one red story, and inside, thousands of tiny rooms made of wax. From the outside, the tiny city also seems quiet.....

This mysterious little house, high on the rooftop of an old house in Brooklyn, New York City, holds a magical secret, known only to Fred. This little house is a beehive, and every day he visits the hive and greets the busy bees "Good morning, Queen Mab" [he must be a Shakespeare lover, which is also very good] and to the other houses "Good Morning, Queen Nefertiti. Good Morning Queen Boadicea." Inside, all is quiet activity the queen bees are laying eggs, workers are building those wax rooms, while others are going to be foraging among the flowers in the gardens and parks of the city.

internal art      By Nargi's telling the story of Fred and his beehives via attractive illustrations and words, readers learn not only about Fred, but the wonderful world of bees and the delicious honey they make, even in a city, far from the countryside. This gentle tale is most beguiling, and I thoroughly recommend it. I also liked the endpapers which show the parts of the flower used by bees, the layout of their hives, and all the important aspects of the lives of bees.

      Fred loves his bees and greatly loves the scented honey they create. He imagines flying like bees and wishes that he could be as strong and free as the bees seem to be. I must confess that I always feel a little disturbed by our ability as humans to selfishly take the honey from the bees, the result of their hard work, so that we can enjoy the precious honey without the intense labour needed to create such magical food. We are totally dependent on bees to pollinate our crops, and the recent problems with colony collapses are wisely left out of this delightful tale.

Highly Recommended.

Wendy Williams, a school librarian, has started another busy school year. This summer, Wendy spent a delightful three weeks in England, taking the opportunity to look up some literary associations and landscapes. How wonderful to think of the busy bees working away to pollinate and propagate our natural world.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.