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The Bee Tree

School Library Journal

"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."
- July 3, 2007 

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