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   Hive for the Honeybee, A, by Soinbhe Lally  
  Novel, first publication in May 1999 , latest edition in May 2001
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       Additional Information  
      "Back in the hive, Thora stood on the edge of the stores of ripening honey and fanned her wings incessantly. She had fanned all day in spite of the commotion and excitement. The song of the swarm had hummed all around her but she remained dutifully at her post. She was a house bee, just three days old."

    When we first meet Thora the worker bee in this anthropomorphic allegory, she's thinking only of her responsibilities to the hive and her Queen. She must fan the wax combs, clean brood cells, and tidy up after the filthy, lazy drones (who spend the bulk of their time drunk on honey). Soon the imperious, efficient Belle takes Thora under her wing, teaching her the ways of workers and revealing her furious dislike of drones. But when Thora meets her first male bee, a "nice idiot" named Alfred, she can't help thinking he's helpless and handsome. It is through the poetic Alfred that Thora meets Mo, an opinionated rabble-rouser and vocal supporter of free thought who causes Thora to think outside the hive--if only briefly.

    Irish author Soinbhe Lally crafts a compelling tale that buzzes along swiftly and is highlighted with the spindly, whimsical illustrations of Patience Brewster. Lally melds fascinating information about the workings of a hive--the queen, workers, brood combs, drones, pollen, wax cells, and honey--with an engaging story line that is satisfying on both a literal and metaphorical level. Although the book's role as a larger allegory of society and destiny may be initially lost on some readers, its deeper meanings will eventually seep in with the steady inevitability of honey. (Ages 10 and older)

    Source: Brangien Davis,

    Out of the great lyrical tradition of Irish writing comes this astonishing tale: the story of a group of bees more moving than most human characters in contemporary fiction. With the help of two unusual, philosophical drones, worker bees Thora and Belle begin to look at their lives in a radical new way.

      Related theme(s)  
  • Hive Minds - Collectivist Species
  • Insects - Arachnids - Insectoids
  • Young Reader - Books for Children (9 to 12)

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