The Royal Bee

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Based on a true story, The Royal Bee is an elegantly written tale that pays tribute to a young boy's courage and strength of character. Song-ho is a young Korean boy destined by birth to a life of poverty. Barred from going to school--only the sons of wealthy families could attend--he dreams of learning to read and write. Then one day he hears the sound of a school bell and follows it deep into the valley. There, the school master turns him away, but Song-ho's boldness and determination earn ...

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Overview

Based on a true story, The Royal Bee is an elegantly written tale that pays tribute to a young boy's courage and strength of character. Song-ho is a young Korean boy destined by birth to a life of poverty. Barred from going to school--only the sons of wealthy families could attend--he dreams of learning to read and write. Then one day he hears the sound of a school bell and follows it deep into the valley. There, the school master turns him away, but Song-ho's boldness and determination earn him a chance at gaining an education nevertheless. Dramatically illustrated with richly textured oil paintings, the story offers glimpses of daily life in Korea a century ago--for both the rich and the poor.

Frances Park and Ginger Park are sisters who also co-authored My Freedom Trip. They both live in the Washington, D.C. area.

Christopher Zhong-Yuan Zhang is the illustrator of Moon Festival by Ching Yeung Russell. He divides his time between his native China and New London, Connecticut.

In the days when only wealthy Korean children are allowed to attend school, a poor boy named Song-ho learns by listening outside a schoolroom door, which eventually earns him a chance to better himself and make life easier for his widowed mother.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The Park sisters once again look back to their Korean roots for inspiration, but this time they undermine the suspense employed to such strong effect in their debut, My Freedom Trip. Song-ho, a sangmin boy, performs household chores dressed in rags while the privileged yangban dress in finery, attend school and compete in the Royal Bee at the Governor's palace. One day, Master Min catches Song-ho eavesdropping at the schoolroom door. When Song-ho asks the master if he can become his pupil, learn to read and write and thus "earn a good living for his mother," the man dismisses the boy. Readers may be confounded when a turn of the page reveals an abrupt about-face; the story line plants Song-ho firmly inside the classroom where he is inexplicably accepted into the school ("After each yangban pupil in the classroom had tested Song-ho, Master Min spoke: `Welcome to the Sodang School, Song-ho' "). This clumsy transition at the plot's pivotal point cuts into the credibility and flow of the tale. A similar narrative leap omits the boy's climb to the top of the class and his peers' growing respect, which results in their selecting him as representative of the school for the Royal Bee competition. Rendered in oil paints on board, Zhong-Yuan Zhang's (Moon Festival) inconsistent paintings intermittently depict characters as blurred or wooden, yet successfully convey the likable hero's sincerity and determination. Ages 6-9. (Feb.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Song-ho is a poor boy growing up in late nineteenth century Korea, when kings ruled and only wealthy children attended school. Song-ho, however, is determined to find a way to receive an education. His engaging and inspirational tale is based on the true story of the Parks' grandfather who, as a boy, eavesdropped at the door of the privileged children's school until he was allowed to attend. Readers will enjoy the daring of Song-ho's resolve as well as the suspense awaiting the outcome of his participation in the national academic competition. The narrative voice is both stately and lyrical, drawing the reader into Song-ho's world of rice-paper doors, golden rain trees, echoing school bells, and into his desire to provide his mother with sweet melons, perfect chestnuts, and hope. The oil paintings, though uneven, are for the most part dramatic, even breathtaking, adding strength and color to this dignified and historic tale. 2000, Boyds Mills Press, Ages 6 to 9, $15.95. Reviewer: Betty Hicks—Children's Literature
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563976148
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Frances Park and Ginger Park are the co-authors of five books for children, including The Royal Bee. They live near Washington, D.C., where they own a shop called Chocolate Chocolate. They are active promoters of their work in schools and libraries. parksisters.com

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2009

    The Royal Bee

    This is a great book to teach the comprehension skill of making inferences. It will hold the attention of students from grades three and above. The students loved this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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