The Bee Treeby Stephen Buchmann, Diana Cohn, Paul Mirocha
A story of bees, honey, and a grandfather in Malaysia teaching his grandson honey-gathering in the tall Tualang tree.
In the Malaysian rainforest, 13-year-old Nizam prepares for his clan's annual honey hunt. This year he will climb behind his grandfather, Pak Teh, more than 120 feet up the tualang trees in the black of night to the branches where giant bees have built massive combs more than six feet wide. Before they start, the honey hunters recount the traditional tale that still guides their hunting practices. In fact, the entire process is infused with reverence for the gifts of the forest and respect for the insects that produce the golden honey. After the successful hunt, Nizam's designation as the next honey hunter leaves him proud but reverent. Mirocha's illustrations incorporate details of Malaysian culture and the lush landscape of the rainforest. Despite the fact that much of the story takes place at night, the illustrations are bright enough for group sharing. Equally fascinating are the concluding eight pages of information and photographs. Readers can see the real Pak Teh, the towering trees, and the huge comb wax nests, and learn more about the indigenous people, the giant honey bees, and the rainforest ecosystem. Although the story can stand alone, this additional information adds significantly to the book's effectiveness. For a look at a honey hunt in another part of the world, see April Pulley Sayre's If You Should Hear a Honey Guide (Houghton, 2000), which is set in East Africa.
Kathy PiehlCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Illustrator Paul Mirocha made five trips to Malaysia to perfectly capture the color, life, and near-magical wonder of the Malaysian rainforest and its bees in this wonderful picturebook, supplemented at the end with a section of amazing facts about Malaysia's rainforests, bee trees with up to one hundred bee honeycombs, and honey hunters. Highly recommended." —Midwest Book Review, starred review
"Despite the fact that much of the story takes place at night, the illustrations are bright enough for group sharing. Equally fascinating are the concluding eight pages of information and photographs…Although the story can stand alone, this additional information adds significantly to the book’s effectiveness." —School Library Journal
"Back in the office everyone was impressed by the illustrations and that a book about the environment includes both nature and people. We have been hard pressed to find books for young children about the environment that include people, and that include institutional sources of the problem." —Deborah Menkart, Executive Director, Teaching for Change
"[The authors and illustrator] turned their unique experience into a fictional picture book with a coming-of-age theme … The story is replete with authentic details and the fascinating factual backmatter includes small paintings from the artist’s sketchbook and photographs." —Kirkus Reviews
"This book is meant to trigger children's thinking about ecology and the environment…it could be an excellent resource to include in an integrated curriculum unit about the rain forests or about pourquoi legends." —Children's Literature
"The Bee Tree is quite unforgettable, at least for this honey-gatherer. Let no son, daughter, niece, nephew, or grandchild be untouched by this masterpiece of sensibility for the planet." —Environmental Grantmakers Association Journal
"A beautifully-illustrated book that opens a window on a fascinating culture and a remarkable biological phenomenon." —David M. Schwartz, author of How Much is a Million
"Beautifully written and remarkably illustrated, the story follows the heart-warming journey of a teenager in learning the skills and rituals associated with this rite. In the process he, and the readers, become part of a magical world of special relationships, enduring beliefs and amazing beauty." —The Malaysian Star
"Taking almost a decade to be actualised, the book is the result of a coming together of extraordinary people from different backgrounds. Authored by Americans Dr Stephen Buchmann, 54, entomologist and environmental consultant, and Diana Cohn, 48, an award-winning children’s book writer and hobbyist beekeeper, it features wonderful artwork by scientific illustrator Paul Mirocha, 52. " —The Malaysian Star
"Dr Stephen Buchmann from the University of Arizona has incorporated what he learnt [in Malaysia] in a children’s book to be launched in the United States soon…The book has vibrant illustrations by his colleague Paul Mirocha." —The Malaysian Star
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