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BEING BEE by Catherine Bateson


by Catherine Bateson

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2104-6
Publisher: Holiday House

Although Bee thinks her father and her two guinea pigs make a perfect family, she can see that her father’s new girlfriend, Jazzi, is on her way to becoming a stepmother, moving in and even introducing Bee to her mentally ill brother. Even worse, the two girls who used to be her best friends say a stepmother might help her. Once again, Bateson deftly describes family and friendship strains in ways that are both touching and humorous. Bee’s resistance and the grown-ups’ attempts to make things easy for her as well as nourish their own relationship are completely convincing. Ancillary characters include her grandmother, Patricia, who has a special friend of her own, and Jazzi’s unpredictable but appealing brother Harley. Except for a few unfamiliar place names, the Australian setting is irrelevant. Warm consideration of adult affections is rare in stories for this age group, and mentally ill adults seldom receive such a rounded portrayal. These add depth and particularity to this satisfying description of an increasingly familiar situation. (Fiction. 9-12)