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The Bee Tree

Overview

"A stunning children's picturebook."—Midwest Book Review

The Bee Tree tells the magical story of a honey hunt in the dense rainforest of Malaysia. The story is narrated by Nizam, a young boy whose grandfather Pak Teh is the leader of the honey hunting clan, the one who has the honor of climbing up the 120-foot tualang tree in the annual honey hunt. But Pak Teh is getting older and is now ready to prepare someone to take his place. He believes ...

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Overview

"A stunning children's picturebook."—Midwest Book Review

The Bee Tree tells the magical story of a honey hunt in the dense rainforest of Malaysia. The story is narrated by Nizam, a young boy whose grandfather Pak Teh is the leader of the honey hunting clan, the one who has the honor of climbing up the 120-foot tualang tree in the annual honey hunt. But Pak Teh is getting older and is now ready to prepare someone to take his place. He believes that Nizam is the one.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"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

Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
Set in the rain forests of Malaysia, a young boy, Nizam, tells how he replaced his grandfather as the person responsible for harvesting honey from the giant tualang tree. As Nizam confesses the mixture of pride and fear with which he undertakes the 120 foot climb to the bee hives, he also recounts the legend his people have told about how the honey bees came to make their nests up so high. An eight-page reference article at the end of book indicates that the beliefs and rituals the boy reports are accurate representations of those followed by the indigenous people of this region. Photographs accompany the article, while the story itself is illustrated in full colored drawings. While the people in the story are somewhat stylized, the drawings of the bees and vegetation are clearly meant to approach scientific illustrations. Like The Great Kapok Tree, this book is meant to trigger children's thinking about ecology and the environment. But the structure of The Bee Tree is more complex and may be challenging for primary age children. However, it could be an excellent resource to include in an integrated curriculum unit about the rain forests or about pourquoi legends.
School Library Journal

Gr 2-6
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.

Kirkus Reviews
In Malaysia, the yearly wild-honey hunts take place on moonless nights when the bees can't see the men who climb the tualang, the tall bee trees. The hunters take special care not to upset the ecosystem that supports the giant honey bees, since the pollinating keystone species affects many of the plants and animals of the region. The authors and illustrator watched as a traditional hunter Pak Teh and his grandson, Nizam, ascended the tall ladders, lit the flames that scare the bees away for a few hours and harvested the honey from the heavy combs attached to the tree limbs. They turned their unique experience into a fictional picture book with a coming-of-age theme filled with wondrous double-spread paintings, depicting daily life today in a Malaysian village (the boy wears a T-shirt with an "All Stars" slogan; the grandfather wears traditional clothing), the rich rainforest, the legends of the honey bees and the stages of the honey hunt. The story is replete with authentic details, but the fascinating factual backmatter (written in a more adult tone and printed in a smaller typeface) and inclusion of small paintings from the artist's sketchbook and photographs should have been presented in a more accessible format. (Picture book. 7-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935955146
  • Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
  • Publication date: 4/10/2012
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 836,821
  • Age range: 7 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author


Stephen Buchmann is an amateur beekeeper, associate professor of entomology at the University of Arizona in Tucson, author of The Forgotten Pollinators, and founder of The Bee Works, an environmental company. Diana Cohn lives in northern California. When not writing or working on other creative projects, she works as a program officer for a national foundation on issues related to economic justice. She is also a hobbyist beekeeper. Paul Mirocha's artwork is noted for its combination of detail and emotional appeal. It is smart realism. Since 1990, Paul has illustrated over 20 children's picture books and pop-ups, and his illustrations have appeared in interpretive exhibits, scientific and popular publications, and books of adult and young adult fiction and contemporary nature writing.
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