Tag Archives: bees

The Saint and His Bees

November 1st is All Saints Day.  I like to introduce one new saint book into our collection on that day as a gift to my children.  This usually means finding a used copy of a saint book throughout the year at some point and hiding and saving it for that day.  Occasionally, in mid October, I do an online hunt for a particular book I’ve had my eye on and buy it used.  Rarely, is there a new, worthy saint book published that gets bought right away. This year, however, there was!  I took a gamble on The Saint and his Bees because I didn’t know anything about it. All I knew was that I absolutely loved illustrator Claire Brandenburg’s other book The Monk Who Grew Prayer.  I have been reluctant to purchase other titles of hers simply because she writes not explicitly Catholic books… but Orthodox.  Without going into history details, there is a fine distinction between the two faiths and while I respect Orthodox believers very much, I don’t make a point of venerating their saints specifically (pre-schism: the Catholic and Orthodox churches share the same saints… so I always double check to make sure the book being written by an Orthdodox author is about a saint who lived prior to the 11th century or so. There are exceptions: I did buy the book The Wonderful Life of Saint Sergius of Radonezh after researching that St. Sergius was indeed also recognized by the Roman Catholic Church…)

Anyway,  onto this year’s gift to my children: a story about St. Modomnoc (aka: St. Dominic), an Irish monk and student of St. David of Wales in the 6th century. It tells of his bond with the monastery’s bees and the legend of how bees were introduced into Ireland because the swarm  didn’t want to let their dear monk go when he had to return to the island… so they followed him!  Illustrated in Brandenburg’s classic, rough, quirky style, the story is sweet and fun and a great addition to our collection.  I’ll have to do some updating to my listmania lists in this category. I only wish it (and The Monk Who Grew Prayer) was available in hardback!  Such a pity to have lovely stories vulnerable to my ravishing, rowdy-handed children!  I just have to be extra careful…  🙂

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Bee-autiful Books

I want bees. I also want chickens but those are taking a backseat to my interest in beekeeping lately. This has been fueled by a few things: a Texan friend who began exploring the idea, our greater consumption of honey as the primary source of sugar used in this house, my love of all things beeswax, and this fantastic children’s book that made my beekeeping itch go rabid:

The Honeybee Man by Lela Nargi. This is an excellent example of a “living book”. And these types of course, should live in abundance on your shelves. Published last year, this book caught me with the illustrations done in scrap collage style. It is the story of Fred, an apiarist in Brooklyn. That’s right, Brooklyn. Fred loves his bees and shows you the ins and outs of tending them. Urban beekeeping truly can happen! I need to do some research and save some money and talk to the fine folks who offer beginner classes… but I hope to make this dream a reality soon. Maybe 2013 will be my year as it’s already springtime and I’m behind the curve. At any rate, there are lots of books out there on the bee theme. Here I mention what I think are the very best:
The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco. Frolic the countryside with the pastoral imagery that Polacco captures so well.

The Life and Times of the Honeybee by Charles Micucci. A very fun, colorful, informative book on all things related to bees! Would make an excellent spine for a unit study.
The Honeybee and the Robber by Eric Carle. A sweet, moveable flap book that showcases Carle’s signature style… especially good for young readers.
 The Bee-Man of Orn by Frank Stockton. Truth be told, I found the story here a little bit strange… just a little left of center on how I like my fantasy books. But the artwork, by the very talented P.J. Lynch is stunning. So thoughtful and detailed and otherworldly… it’s worth the read for sure.

Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind.

-James Russell Lowell

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