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Buy for $17.47
How to Bee is a beautiful, fierce, and ultimately hopeful dystopian novel, set against an all-too-possible future where the bees are extinct, and it is up to the quickest and bravest kids to pollinate the flowers by hand.
Peony lives with her sister, Magnolia, and their grandfather on a fruit farm outside the city. All Peony really wants is to be a bee. Even though she is only nine - and bees must be 10 - Peony already knows all there is to know about being a bee, and she is determined to achieve her dream.
Life on the farm is a scrabble, but there is enough to eat and a place to sleep, and there is love. Then Peony’s mother arrives to take her away from everything she has ever known. Peony is taken to the city to work for a wealthy family. Will Peony’s grit and quick thinking be enough to keep her safe?
To bee or not to bee
"Bren MacDibble's enchanting children's tale, a best seller in Australia, is a hard one to size up. In this dystopian future the bees have almost completely disappeared and "farm children" are enlisted to scramble from tree-to-tree, pollinating flowers to grow fruit, most of which ultimately gets shipped off to the city and the richer "Urbs". But as oppressive as this sounds (and if you're looking for a way to explain indentured servitude to your children this might be the place to start) the family we meet—our heroine Peony, her sister Mags, and Gramps—are content and filled with a deep love for each other. The moral of the story seems to arrive on the bus every month, when Peony's mother returns from the city for a visit, bristling with anger and wanting, and the more-than-occasional black eye (a warning for parents: domestic abuse is present here). And in a Willy Wonka-esq twist, the happily ever after isn't delivered as a rescue from one's circumstances but in the promise of a lifetime of hard but fulfilling work. There's a lot going on, and I'm still ruminating on this one weeks after listening but ultimately our heroine Peony is one that will stay with me forever. Brave and fearless, and utterly in love with her life, she's everything I hope my child to be, even as her world is a humbling reminder of what we must not let our future become." —Emily C., Audible Editor