The Bee Tree
By Patricia Polacco
Puffin Books (Ages: 2-7)
The book̕s overarching theme is that reading can be full of sweetness and adventure. This is communicated by a grandfather to his granddaughter in going on a hunt for a honey bee tree. Mary Ellen thinks she is tired of reading, which may be a common sentiment of many children, especially in the summer. However, when her grandfather takes her on an adventure to follow a bee to the tree where honey is being made, many of the neighboring townsfolk are also intrigued. Some remember doing this same activity when they were young; others long to discover the unique sweetness of freshly harvested honey. When they finally find the bee tree, the townsfolk work together building a fire for the smoke they need and gathering pieces of honeycomb until they all celebrate with a feast. Polacco beautifully highlights the joy that can be shared when a community works to harvest from the land, but also the lesson Mary Ellen learns—that the “adventure, knowledge and wisdom” that come from reading a book must be pursued and worked for, just like following a bee to its honey tree.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2022🖨️ Print post