Sunday, January 11, 2009

To Bee or Not to Bee by John Penberthy

Buzz Bee is just like any other bee; he pollinates flowers and helps build the hive where he lives. But unlike the other bees, Buzz questions his life and existence. Buzz gets fed up with aimlessly working all the time and decides to go out to clear his head. While he is out pondering he meets an older bee named Bert. Through the help of Bert, Buzz sorts through his confusions about God and religion and learns about his place in the larger world. While Buzz is learning from Bert he also becomes interested in a mountain pass close to his hive. The pass is 3000 feet high, with unpredictable weather, yet Buzz has a feeling that going up the pass is do-able. After the passing of Bert, Buzz decides to climb the mountain pass. It starts out easy but as Buzz gets higher and higher the wind gets stronger. He pushes through the pain and gets to the top. After getting to the top, his gut tells him that he has learned what needed to be learned from the journey and heads home. The next morning the hive is attacked by a bear, and gets dismantled. All the bees worry about where to rebuild it when Buzz suggests the cliffs. At first they think he is crazy, but when he takes them closer they agree with him. Like everybody else, Buzz finds himself collecting pollen and building on the new hive. Buzz comes to understand that his role in life is right where he started, all through his crazy adventure.

One of the best things about To Bee or Not to Bee are the illustrations included in the book. Half the book is words and the other half is illustrations of places Buzz visits and things Buzz does. The book's serious topic about finding yourself is considerably lightened through the illustrations. Author John Penberthy does a wonderful job of writing through Buzz's eyes. Buzz is a confused bee going through problems that people go through every day. But by writing about bees instead of humans it makes it more amusing and interesting to read, since you don't really think about bees going through problems like humans do. Overall, I found this book to be a fun yet moving story about a bee looking for his purpose in life that many people will be able to relate to. I would recommend it to people who are looking for books with serious topics but who would enjoy pondering those topics in a relaxed and fun way.

Reviewer Age:14

Reviewer City, State and Country: Champaign, IL USA

Rating: 8

Content Rating: 1