The Bee and Me

Children - General
42 Pages
Reviewed on 05/05/2016
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Hilary Hawkes for Readers' Favorite

Melissa King’s The Bee and Me is a delightful and colorful picture book story with a special message. Written in a rhyming style, it is the story of Mama Bee living in her house full of old fashioned things, like underfloor heating, cord telephones, and box size TVs. A little girl, to whom Mama Bee is much like a grandmother, visits and wonders at all these old things – surely old things have no use and should be thrown out. So should Mama Bee be discarded too? The little girl ultimately realizes that the value of things is not based on how new they are, and that it is not necessary to constantly replace things simply because something more modern has come along.

The story is told from first person point of view with the little girl recounting her dream-like visit to Bee’s house. I love children’s books written in rhyme and this one has a varied rhyming style. The language level is suitable for young readers able to tackle short books independently, to read for themselves too. There are some amusing moments when she discovers a telephone attached to a long wire and a huge box for a television:

“Is this really a TV?” I said to the Bee. I laughed and said, “Oh, that’s so funny to me! They have them now that are flat and go on the wall! That is the oldest TV I ever saw!”

Bee’s response to the little girl’s amazement at discovering all these ‘old’ things is a wise: “Do you think because it’s old I should throw it away out into the cold?”

So a lovely mixture of fun and humor with a question to ponder. I loved the colorful and detailed illustrations by Ana Lyn Abello especially the family ‘photos’ on the walls of Bee’s house – a charming touch. The message about waste and consumption weaves its way through the story as the little girl learns a valuable lesson about focusing on the more important things in life. Bee is loving and welcoming and her home is warm and comfortable – and a home filled with love and security is more important than a house full of the most up to date items. A special story to share with a child or group of children, and one that will prompt discussion about values and our throw-away society. Melissa King's The Bee and Me is a worthy addition to any child’s home or class library.

Kayti Nika Raet

The Bee and Me by Melissa King is a sweet children's story told in verse about a little girl and her grandmother Bee, who lives in a yellow house in the Delta South. The book's protagonist visits her grandmother (who looks like a bee in the book) and has fun flying with her, and playing in her house, safe and warm from the cold winter air. She's a curious girl and soon notices that some of the items she takes for granted look very different in her grandmother's house. There's a phone with a string! And a big boxy television that sits on a crate and isn't flat at all.

When her grandmother asks her what does she think about the items, she blithely demands that they be thrown out into the cold. Her grandmother asks the same question with each new "old" item the girl discovers, and grows sadder and sadder each time the girl says they should be thrown out into the cold. Finally, Bee points out that she herself is "old" and makes her way toward the door.

The Bee and Me by Melissa King is a good story for children curious about the difference between modern technology and its older counterpart. It also is a good way to help them see the value in it. Full of bright illustrations by Ana Lyn Abello that perfectly detail the sweet and fun story, The Bee and Me makes a great book for young readers, one that they will enjoy and flip through over and over again.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

A little girl has a very special friend who lives in the yellow house near to her own. We don’t know the little girl’s name because she’s telling the story. It’s a story about a special friendship with a very old bee, and the girl thinks she’s old enough to be a grandma. When invited into the little yellow house, the girl is shown things that she describes as being very old. There is the telephone connected to the wall with a long cord and an old television that sits propped on a table. The girl thinks these things are funny and, because they are old, they should be discarded. Grandma Bee suggests that she, too, is old. Should Grandma Bee be discarded as well? To demonstrate her point, Grandma Bee opens the front door, allowing the bitter cold wind to blow inside and, with a dejected look on her face and wings hanging limp, she starts to throw herself away. The little girl realizes in a flash that all things old are not necessarily useless. Sometimes old things (and old people and old bees) are just as much a treasure to be enjoyed as are new things.

Melissa King’s The Bee and Me is a timely story as our world continues to become more infatuated with new technology and the feeling is 'the newer the better.' Sadly, we live in a throw-away era and children, as well as adults, need to learn the simple lesson that old doesn’t necessarily mean no longer useful. This charming story is told in rhyme with colorful illustrations. With a spark of humor as well as the intensity of compassion and caring, the little girl learns that something old can be new again, and treasures are not always the newest thing. A good lesson for us all to learn.

Jane Finch

The Bee and Me by Melissa King is a sweet story about a little girl who goes to visit the Bee in her home in the American deep south. Told in rhyme, the story explains how the little girl struggles to understand the importance of some things that are somewhat old or out of date. It is only as the Bee helps the young girl to understand that some things have special memories, or can still function perfectly well in the age of innovation and technology, that the girl begins to realise that everything is not quite as it seems. The colourful illustrations by Ana Lyn Abello really enhance this simple yet meaningful story.

This rhyming story is ideal to read aloud with a young child. The juxtaposition of the Bee and a grandparent works very well and helps to explain to a young, inquiring mind that just because something or someone is old, it still has meaning and a purpose. The mention of the old fashioned phone is a great illustration. Then the Bee’s difficulty in walking, and the illustration of the cold outside and the warm and cosy inside again works well to shows the effects growing old can have on elderly relatives, and the importance of acceptance for who they are. This story and all its implications are perfect for a parent to read and discuss with a young child, or perhaps in a nursery school setting. The author, Melissa King, has done a good job in weaving a number of life aspects like tolerance and acceptance into a story that will doubtless appeal to the young reader.

Ray Simmons

The Bee and Me by Melissa King is a wonderful rhyming story for children. At around 36 pages, it is not very long. I think that is an advantage in a book for small children because if they are like I was when I was a child, they will want to learn to read it for themselves. Then the small number of pages will not intimidate them and they will read it over and over again, and maybe even read it to younger siblings and friends. The beautiful illustrations by Ana Lynn Abello will keep kids looking at and talking about the book well after their first complete reading of the story. I especially liked and appreciated the fact that, like the books of my childhood hero Dr. Seuss, The Bee and Me rhymes. That is great for memory and repetition.

Aside from the fun, interesting story and the great artwork, The Bee and Me teaches an important lesson. Never before in the history of the human race has there been such a huge cultural and technological gap between the generations as the one we have today. This gap will only widen as the pace of human progress becomes faster and faster, so we must teach our kids to appreciate the older generation before we find ourselves thrown out into the winter cold. A great story. A great moral, and a great job by Melissa King. I hope she writes many more.

Melissa Evon King

I am so grateful for the reviews, and honored to have been considered for an award of any kind by Readers' Favorite. To have received a finalist award is a cherished award for me. This is my first book, and this award is my fist award. Although I believe in this story and it's message, to be acknowledged by authors with more experience than I have is more than I can express in writing, or in words. Thank you so very much. I also want to express the appreciation of the still living 93 year old ("Bee," short for Beatrice) who smiles from ear to ear knowing the message that value is ageless is her story. Really, it's everyone's story.