Zinnia and the Bees

Zinnia and the Bees


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Zinnia and the Bees by Danielle Davis, Laura K. Horton

Talk about having a lousy day. While Zinnia's seventh grade classmates are celebrating the last day of school, she's cooped up in the vice principal's office, serving detention. Her offense? Yarn bombing a statue of the school mascot. And when Zinnia rushes home to commiserate with her older brother, Adam, who also happens to be her best friend, she's devastated to discover that he's left home with no explanation. Just when it looks like Zinnia's day can't possibly get any worse, a colony of frantic honeybees mistakes her hair for a hive and lands on her head! Told from the alternating perspectives of Zinnia a humorous young loner and knitter and an unintentionally comical hive of honeybees, this quirky, heartfelt novel will strike a chord with anyone who has ever felt alone, betrayed, or misunderstood as it explores the challenges that come with learning to trust yourself and the often messy process of discovering the true meaning to home.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781623708672
Publisher: Capstone Press
Publication date: 08/01/2017
Series: Middle-grade Novels
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 798,483
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile: 710L (what's this?)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Danielle Davis grew up in Singapore and Hong Kong and now lives in Los Angeles where she reads, writes, and roller skates. She's earned an M.A. in Literature and Creative Writing and her short stories have been published in literary magazines. She's had the privilege of teaching English to middle school and community college students and currently volunteers with literary orgainzations in L.A. Zinnia and the Bees is her first novel.

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Zinnia and the Bees 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Zinnia and the Bees is a sublime story beautifully detailing the journey of a young artist learning to handle the emotions of being different and on her own. Her blocks and worries are unique to her own personal circumstances, but relate to a bigger feeling of what it's like to be in conflict with the outside influences of life, even when one's intentions are good and worthy. Through all the ups and downs, kindness shines in this story when Zinnia meets a person who has her back no matter what her range of emotions or challenges dealing with her unique set of obstacles. I loved reading this book to my daughter because I felt like we learned when life isn't going your way, or when the people that are suppose to be there for you are letting you down, to not give up. We are all have challenges and everyone is up against something. Ultimately there are people who show up and help you, even if they're not the ones you were expecting, you just have to be open and willing to see them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This highly original and magical book is terrific. Zinnia has a missing brother, a difficult mother (the amazingly named Dr. Flossdrop!), challenging friends... And bees. In her hair. Readers will take to Danielle Davis' middle grade debut like bees to... you know. Highly recommend.
Ronna Mandel More than 1 year ago
Zinnia, the main character in Danielle Davis’s Zinnia and the Bees, struggles with several relationships throughout this introspective, humorous, and totally absorbing book. It’s filled with many of those confusing, sometimes immobilizing emotions that I recall experiencing in middle school (which was called junior high back then). Added to that are accounts of several uncomfortable situations Zinnia finds herself immersed in which will surely resonate with today’s tweens. And though she may seem to avoid friendships, she ultimately realizes that those connections are what she really needs. Her mom, a widow, dentist and community activist, always seems otherwise occupied. She practically lives at her practice, leaves impersonal post-it notes and is more into her rescue dog than her daughter. Then there’s Zinnia’s brother Adam. The book opens with a wacky and wonderful yarn bomb episode that pulls readers into the story and demonstrates the siblings’ close relationship, despite the six years age gap. Zinnia and the Bees book with wool and some beesOn that very same day, Adam skips out on Zinnia and her mom, no warning, no note, nothing to let her know where he’s gone. That, after all they’ve shared, hurts more than also losing her group of friends NML, Nikki, Margot and Lupita. When they were pals they were NMLZ, but now Z was on her own. That is until a clever and curious neighbor’s nephew comes to town for summer. Far from perfect, yet not easy to push away, Birch demonstrates to Zinnia the magic of nature and the transformative quality of a good friend. His timing couldn’t have been better because after a visit to the local ice cream parlor, where some ice cream got in her hair, Zinnia has attracted a colony of crazed and kooky honeybees who find what they hope will be temporary accommodations in her long curly hair. As Zinnia tries to make sense of her brother-less world, she’s also trying to figure out a way to get the bees off her head. We get vivid glimpses of a close relationship Zinnia has with her aunt, without which would make her mom’s indifference more intolerable than it already is. After all, it was her mom who pushed Adam away. The humor shines through when reading the perspective of the hiveless bees hanging out in Zinnia’s hair. They get a chance, every several chapters or so, to share their thoughts on being homeless. This gives readers a chance to get into the bee narrator’s head and think about bees in a whole, hysterical new way. I now bravely scoop dive-bombing bees out of my pool instead of letting them drown thanks to Zinnia and the Bees! (No bees were hurt in the making of this novel, but do not attempt a rescue if you are allergic to bees!) Davis has crafted a quirky and creative story where the presence of yarn in many ways can be seen as a connector of people, as well as something safe and comforting. The bees represent a longing for home, and Zinnia’s need to be heard and loved unconditionally, like her brother. There are truly many layers to the story of Zinnia and the Bees making this debut novel from Danielle Davis such a sweet, satisfying and thoughtful read. Find my Q & A with Danielle and other reviews at www.goodreadswithronna.com
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Life is tough for lonely yarn-bomber, Zinnia Flossdrop. Her dentist mother is obsessed with being useful, her beloved brother has disappeared, and to top everything off a hive of bees has settled in her hair. What is a girl to do? In Zinnia's case, she decides to find her brother and try to figure a way to get the hive of bees out of her large mane of hair. Luckily, just the right friend comes along at just the right time. Birch comes to stay with his Uncle Lou for the summer. I absolutely loved Birch and Zinnia's friendship and how they were both what each other needed. I also love the other characters that populate the novel: Milkshake, the forever wheezing dog, Dr. Flossdrop, Lou, Aunt Mildred, NML. They felt so real to me - that I could show up on Zinnia's neighborhood and hear the sounds of a French film filtering out of Mildred's window. And the bees! The bees! Some of the chapters are told from their POV. They breakdance! I loved them. Zinnia and the Bees is unique, charming and delightful. How I would have loved to tag along on Zinnia and Birch's adventures when I was twelve!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The last day of seventh grade couldn’t be worse for Zinnia Flossdrop. First, she must spend the day sitting in the principal's office for yarn-bombing the school mascot. At home, she discovers that, Adam, 18, her beloved brother, a talented magician and sometimes prankster-in-crime has left home, leaving no note or explanation. Her rather cold dentist/community activist mom doesn’t seem to care, replacing Adam with a sickly little dog. Seeking comfort, Zinnia buys herself a cone of her favorite ice-cream, which melts, falls out of the cone onto a table, and gets in her hair when she puts her head down for a good cry. Little does Zinnia know that there is an industrial rental hive of escaped honeybees looking for a new home in order to live as free bees and pollinators as nature meant them to be. Yes, the bees find a new home in Zinnia’s abundant, wildly curly locks. And nothing she does gets them to move out. So, Zinnia does the only thing she can think of - puts on a sweatshirt and covers her hair with a hood. Which naturally arouses the curiosity of visiting, plaid-wearing Birch, nephew of her next-door neighbor. Birch is a bird-watcher, the son of naturalists, and a solid, straightforward kind of kid, who sees and faces things head-on - luckily for Zinnia. He’s the only person who actually notices that there are bees living in her hair. Little by little, the two become friends, though it is a rocky road given Zinnia’s somewhat depressing situation(s), and Birch’s overly positive attitude. Together, they begin to search solutions to getting the bees out of Zinnia’s hair and into a proper hive, while also trying to find out where Adam might be and why he left so abruptly. In between Zinnia’s unfolding tale of woe, are short chapters narrated by one of the bees. That way, the reader learns why they decided to run away (with parallels to Adam’s reasons), and the difficulty of surviving until they find a new hive. The plight of the bees is told with both humor and pathos, so be prepared to suspend your disbelief and at the same time, learn some interesting facts about bees. Over the course of the summer, having a headful of bees and no big brother to fall back on teaches Zinnia some hard truths about herself and her feelings, and about what it means to be a sister, a daughter and a friend. At first, I thought the yarn bombing thing was kind of silly, but as I read and got to know Zinnia better, I realized it is the perfect metaphor for her - always covering up and hiding her real feelings from everyone around her - feelings that are holding her captive, and which naturally leads to all kinds of misunderstandings. On the other hand, the bees are looking for freedom, tired of being held captive as pollinators on demand. Their quest for freedom also leads to all kinds of misunderstanding - particularly with regard to Bee 641, who led them to Zinnia’s hair in the first place. This is a debut middle grade novel for Danielle Davis. Though not without flaws, it is nevertheless an entertaining and well-done novel. I particularly liked the way she managed to weave in some real information about the plight of bees in today’s world through some nice use of magical realism. And I thought her characters were very interesting, and just quirky enough to work without going over the top. Zinnia and the Bees is a coming of age novel that is sure to please young readers. This book is recommended for readers age 9+
hermitlibrarian More than 1 year ago
Zinnia is a young girl whose mother is overbearing, her brother has disappeared under the pressure, and a colony of bees has made their new home in her hair! This middle grade novel has just the right amount of magical realism and teachable moments to make it a good read for not just the 9-12 year old age group, but for others as well. The bees, normally creatures that I wouldn't want to be near because I don't care for insects, became sympathetic characters here. The group was formally transported from crop to orchard and so on as professional pollinators. Never having been in a wild hive or having had to fend for themselves, when a car accident sets them free they have to make the best of a bad situation. In a town with few trees, worker Bee 641 is the bee elected to find a new place to go and follow their collective dreams, taken from stories passed down from bee generation to bee generation. The bad part? That new home is Zinnia's hair, with a smear of mint chocolate chip ice cream to attract her new "friends". Zinnia also has her fair share of problems. Her mom doesn't seem to understand her or her knitting/yarn bombing tendencies, activities that she deems "non-useful". Her brother, whose interests also lie in the arts, has left after escalating arguments with their mother about his future. Add this to the loss of her closest group of friends and her summer is looking pretty dim. Reading Zinnia's story, her working through her problems and her summer days, including reluctantly making friends with her neighbor's nephew and walking her mom's new dog, was always interesting. Zinnia has a pleasant voice, even as she was navigating a difficult time. Her interest in knitting and yarn bombing made her very relatable to me and, I think, somewhat unique. I almost never see main characters that knit like she did; artistic skills like drawing and painting seem to be more popular. There were alternating chapters and the others not told from Zinnia's first person perspective were told from that of the bees. That was fascinating because, as I mentioned before, I'm not a fan of insects. Reading the activity I've seen going on in the real world from a more personable perspective made it a unique experience. They were friendly creatures, telling the story of going from crop to crop until the day they break free and have to figure out what to do with their new found freedom. Going off "family" stories and, eventually, Zinnia's kindness and knitting know-how, they find their place and worker Bee 641, originally mocked for her lack of hive finding abilities, redeems herself and is revealed as the voice of the bees from the beginning. Zinnia learns a lot about grieving, about distancing herself from her friends while trying to cling too tightly to another important person, and about being true to yourself, even at the risk of losing everything. From the cover and from the description, one might not think that this novel has as much depth as I discovered it did, but rest assured that Danielle Davis did a masterful job of communicating important values while weaving a magical story. I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Zinnia is struggling with some tough relationships and losses in her life, and is trying to navigate through it all. The cast is fun (the bees too!) and the characters each bring something unique to the story. Can't wait to see this out in the world!