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A Hive for the Honey Bee

by Soinbhe Lally
Illustrated by Patience Brewster

Published by Arthur A. Levine / Scholastic, 1999
226 pages
ISBN: 0-590-51038-X

Ages 12 and older

Podcast featuring this book

Worker bee Thora has never thought to question why things are, she just does her job fanning, clearning and repairing the hive. Then she meets Mo, a young drone and social anarchist who believes heartily in questioning the status quo, and Alfred, an older drone and poet who writes stirring metaphorical descriptions, which none of the other drones understand, about important events in the hive. Mo and Alfred feel sorry for Thora and her friend Belle, who never stop to observe the world around them, ponder the beauty of a flower, or contemplate the existing social and political order that divides roles by gender: the females do all the hive work while the male drones make grandiose rules and wait for the queen to chose whom she will mate. But it turns out that Thora and Belle, along with all the other bees, workers and drones, field bees and queen, are ruled by something more powerful than social and political orders after all: Nature. In Soinbhe Lally's satiric fantasy, human dreams, desires and foibles play out in characters that are still wholly driven by realistic honeybee behavior in a story that is woven with beautiful and fascinating descriptions of hive life and the interactions of bees. While the decorative art at the start of each chapter suggests a story that may appeal to younger teens, it is older readers who will most fully appreciate the humor and social commentary in Lally's witty and touching novel. CCBC categories: Fiction for Teenagers (MS; June 7)  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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