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THE BEE TREE by Patricia Polacco


by Patricia Polacco & illustrated by Patricia Polacco

Pub Date: April 21st, 1993
ISBN: 0-399-21965-X
Publisher: Philomel

Surely Grampa, slouched cozily between bookcase and stove, isn't tired of reading, but Mary Ellen is—and Grampa has the perfect diversion: he catches a few bees in the garden, then frees them, one by one, so the two can trail them to their tree. In cumulative style, several colorful neighbors ("Einar Tundevold"; ' 'Klondike' Bertha Fitchworth"; "Feduciary Longdrop" and his goats) join them; together, they smoke out the bees, wrap comb honey in the clean diapers of Baby Sylvester (who has come along with his mom), and go home for tea, biscuits, and honey, as well as "tall tales and raucous laughter as they all buzzed about the sweet adventure of that day." The illustrations set these cheery goings-on back when some folks in Michigan still wore clothes from the old country (and diapers were routinely boiled!); as is her wont, Polacco uses bold areas of white, swatches of bright patterning, and creative perspectives with unusual energy and good humor. In the end, Grampa also has a unique way to sweeten Mary Ellen's book. Another charming piece of Americana from an artist of rare warmth and originality. (Picture book. 4-8)