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The Bee Tree

EGA Journal (Environmental Grantmakers Association)

"The Bee Tree, a children’s story for marveling adults, is a fabulous book. It’s magical realism with fewer pages and more pictures. A stunning account of a remarkable traditional honey-gathering system in the Malaysian rainforest, it’s presented as an engaging tale about the passing of the craft from generation to generation.

Here is a boy, Nizam, becoming a man through learning to become both traditional and contemporary… a boy in his 'All Star' T-shirt and sneakers knowing that one should visit the rainforest at night 'like one is entering a neighbor’s house'… gathering 600 lbs of honey from a 115-foot tree from the largest honey-producing bee species in the world: the migratory Apis dorsata.

Researched and written by EGA’s own Diana Cohn of the Panta Rhea Foundation and entomologist Dr. Stephen Buchmann of The Forgotten Pollinators fame, The Bee Tree offers a delicious level of detail and authenticity, including an extensive afterword. (Diana is a beekeeper herself, and the author of other remarkable children’s books such as Mr. Goethe’s Garden.) And the illustrations by Paul Mirocha are extraordinary. Many EGA members will recognize his precise, sparse illuminations of the Southwestern desert landscapes in which he lives. After five trips to the Malaysian rainforest, Mirocha has found a way to fit all the life there into these shimmering pages, jostling with each other and with the dreams and memories of Nizam and his grandfather, Pak Teh.

The Bee Tree is quite unforgettable, at least for this honey-gatherer. Let no son, daughter, niece, nephew, or grandchild be untouched by this masterpiece of sensibility for the planet."
- Ken Wilson, The Christensen Fund, April 1, 2007 

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