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The Bee Tree

Midwest Book Review

 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars
"A stunning children's picturebook based on the real-life traditions of honey hunters

Entomologist Stephen Buchmann and award-winning children's book author Diana Cohn present The Bee Tree, a stunning children's picturebook based on the real-life traditions of honey hunters of Malaysia's indigenous people, who use special techniques to collect honey from dangerous, 1-inch long giant honeybees of the rainforest. Though fierce, the giant wild honeybees are also a critical link of the rainforest's ecology, and are deeply respected by the honey hunters.

The Bee Tree recounts the legend of Hitam Manis, a servant girl who became transformed into a bee, and tells of the many precautions honey hunters take to avoid being stung (such as collecting honey only on moonless nights, and sending sparks to the ground to lure away guardian bees from the honeycomb), all through the eyes of a young boy being schooled in ancient ways. 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."
- May 13, 2007 

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