Lally uses a broad brush in this sexist allegory, contrasting--at length--the industrious female worker bees and the charming but dim-witted male drones, with their thoroughly ineffectual government and religion. As young Thora and her sharp-tongued friend Belle go about tending the hive and, later in the season, gathering nectar and pollen, the self-appointed Grand Drone creates a bureaucracy, dubbing dreamy Alfred Poet Laureate of the hive, charging disputatious Mo with seeing to it that the sun rises at dawn and sets at dusk, and leading ritual worship of the Great Drone in the Sky (familiarly known as the ""GDS""). Expressing doubts about the GDS, scandalizing Alfred with the idea that the females' Honey Dance might be art, suggesting to a confused Thora that all bees are free to make their own choices, Mo is a real troublemaker, though he loses some of his idealism after Belle is killed while driving off supposedly friendly wasps. In a poignant but ineffective ending, Mo and Alfred pass through disillusionment to wisdom as they're driven out of the hive with the rest of the drones to die in the cold, and Thora, old and tattered, discovers in her last moments the peace of one whose work is done. Not Brewster's quirky, accomplished drawings of insects with human heads, nor the author's rich harvest of bee lore can rescue this labored satire.