How to Bee
How to Bee
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Annotation: A story about family, loyalty, kindness and bravery, set against an all-too-possible future where climate change has forever changed the way we live.
Catalog Number: #209066
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 212 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-7730-6418-5
ISBN 13: 978-1-7730-6418-5
Dewey: Fic
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
In near-future Australia, "bee" is both a noun and a verb.Before the famines that occurred 30 years ago, crops were pollinated by actual bees, but wanton pesticide use means that now the job must be done by children who are light and quick enough to hand-pollinate the orchards that produce the fruit that's taken to the city. Peony, the novel's charismatic 9-year-old narrator, wants nothing more than to bee, but Foreman doesn't pick her. That's bad enough, but even worse is when Ma comes from the city where she works and takes Peony away from Gramps and her beloved sister. In the city, Peony must wear shoes and wait on the Pasquales, a family of three that lives in comfort Peony can't fathom. MacDibble effectively creates a not-quite-post-apocalyptic world of tremendous class contrasts, with farmworkers who live in dire poverty and frightening, teeming crowds of "raggy people" in the city; the elites live in seeming oblivion. But once Peony gets to the city, the plot devolves into a Secret Garden-esque arc in which Peony combines Mary Lennox's abrasive impulsivity and Dickon's simple country wisdom as she befriends and nurtures the Pasquales' imperious daughter, who, Colin-like, is hostage to her own fears. Peony seeks not revolution but a return to the orchard, her enlightenment an entirely personal one. Racial distinctions are effectively invisible, implying a white default.A vivid futuristic setting enfolds a fundamentally nostalgic plot. (Post-apocalyptic adventure. 9-13)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* In a world where bees are no more aders won't know if this is the future, an alternate time line, or a parallel universe ere are the farm folk, Pests and Bees, and the wealthy city folk who live far off and lounge around in luxury, known as the Urbs. Peony wants more than anything to live on her grandfather's farm and be a Bee, a worker who manually pollinates flowers and fruits to keep society running, but when her volatile Ma shows up and moves her to the big city, she must decide where d who e wants her family to be. Imported from Australia, MacDibble's award-winning debut children's novel is a refreshing breath of organic, floral-scented air. She has created a recognizable, unforgettable voice in Peony, who is a vibrant personality, speaking like a child-friendly version of Anthony Burgess' Alex from A Clockwork Orange. Readers will root for her and her friends throughout their challenges and adventures, from surviving in the city to being promoted on the farm.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (3/1/20)
Kirkus Reviews
Word Count: 38,101
Reading Level: 4.6
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.6 / points: 6.0 / quiz: 506781 / grade: Middle Grades
Lexile: 810L
Guided Reading Level: X
Fountas & Pinnell: X

Peony lives with her sister, Magnolia, and her grandfather on a fruit farm outside the city. All Peony really wants is to be a bee. Even though she is only nine -- and bees must be ten -- Peony already knows all there is to know about being a bee and she is determined to achieve her dream. Life on the farm is a scrabble, but there is enough to eat and a place to sleep, and there is love. Then Peony's mother arrives to take her away from everything she has ever known. Peony is taken to the city to work for a wealthy family. Will Peony's grit and quick thinking be enough to keep her safe? How to Bee is a beautiful and fierce novel for younger readers, and the voice of Peony will stay with you long after you read the last page.

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