The Bee Tree

The Bee Tree


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When Mary Ellen gets bored with her reading, Grandpa knows a hunt for a bee tree is just what she needs. Half the town joins the exciting chase, but it's not until everyone returns home that Mary Ellen makes a discovery of her own: Sometimes, even the sweetest of things must be worked for.

* "Polacco has created another charming picture book featuring a child learning from a grandparent in an idyllic pastoral setting . . . Both the writing and artwork are fresh and inviting." --School Library Journal, starred review

"The newest gem from Polacco's treasure chest of family stories extols the virtue of reading--and of taking a study break . . . Like Mary Ellen, readers will emerge refreshed from this respite, ready to seek out new adventures." --Publishers Weekly

"Young readers will savor this." --The Horn Book

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780698116962
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 05/28/1998
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 32
Sales rank: 61,101
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 10.31(h) x 0.14(d)
Lexile: AD750L (what's this?)
Age Range: 4 - 8 Years

About the Author

"I was born in Lansing, Michigan in 1944. Soon after my birth I lived in Williamston, Michigan and then moved onto my grandparents farm in Union City, Michigan.

"I lived on the farm with my mom and Grandparents until 1949. That is when my Babushka (my grandmother) died and we prepared to move away from Michigan. I must say that living on that little farm with them was the most magical time of my life...and that my Babushka and other grandparents were some of the most inspirational people in my life.

"My parents were divorced when I was 3, and both my father and mother moved back into the homes of their parents. I spent the school year with my mother, and the summers with my dad. In both households I was the apple of my grandparents' eyes! I would say that these relationships with my grandparents have most definitely influenced my life and my work. You probably have noticed that in almost every book that I write there is a very young person who is interacting with an elderly person. Personally, I feel that this is the most valuable experience of my life....having the wonder of knowing both children and elderly people.

"The respect that I learned as a very young person certainly carried over into my life in later years. I have always like hearing stories from these folks. My genuine curiosity for the wonder of living a very long life prepared me to accept the declining years of my own parents.

"To get back to the farm in Union City...this place was so magical to me that I have never forgotten it! This was the place where I heard such wonderful stories told...this was the place that a real meteor fell into our font yard...that very meteorite is now our family headstone in the graveyard here in Union City.

"Did I tell you that I now live in Union City? This is after living in Oakland, California for almost 37 years. But, you see, every year I'd come back to Michigan to see my Dad and family.


"In 1949 we left the farm to move, first to Coral Gables, Florida. I lived there with my Mom and my brother, Richard, for almost 3 years. Then we moved to Oakland, California. I remained there for most of my young life on into my adulthood. We lived on Ocean View Drive in the Rockridge District. What I loved the most about this neighborhood is that all of my neighbors came in as many colors, ideas and religions as there are people on the planet. How lucky I was to know so many people that were so different and yet so much alike.

"It is on Ocean View that I met my best friend, Stewart Grinnell Washington. We are best friends to this day! He has a younger brother, Winston and three sisters; Jackie, Terry and Robin. When I was a student in elementary school I wasn't a very good student. I had a terrible time with reading and math. As a matter of fact, I did not learn how to read until I was almost 14 years old. Can you imagine what it was like to see all my friends do so well in school and I wasn't! I thought I was dumb. I didn't like school because there was this boy that always teased me and made me feel even dumber. When I was fourteen, it was learned that I have a learning disability. It is called dyslexia. I felt trapped in a body that wouldn't do what everybody else could do. That was when one of my hero's, my teacher, found what was wrong with me and got me the help I needed to succeed in school. Of course, now that I am an adult, I realize that being learning disabled does not mean DUMB AT ALL! As a matter of fact, I have learned that being learning disabled only means that I cannot learn the way most of you do. As a matter of fact, most learning disabled children are actually GENIUSES! Once I learned how to read and caught up with the rest of my fellow students, I did very well.

"I went on to University, majored in Fine Art, then went on to do a graduate degree and even ended up with a Ph.D. in Art History. For a time I restored ancient pieces of art for museums. I eventually became the mother of two children, Steven and Traci, and devoted much of my days to their education and upbringing.

"I did not start writing children's books until I was 41 years old. Mind you the "art" has always been there for me most of my life. Apparently one of the symptoms of my disability in academics is the ability of draw very, very well. So drawing, painting and sculpture has always been a part of my life even before I started illustrating my books. The books were quite a surprise, really. Mind you, I came from a family of incredible storytellers. My mother's people were from the Ukraine and father's people were from Ireland. My extended family,(Stewart's family) were from the bayous of Louisiana...also great story tellers. When you are raised on HEARING stories.....NOT SEEING THEM, you become very good at telling stories yourself. So at the age of 41 I started putting stories that I told down on paper and did drawings to help illustrate them...I guess the rest is history.

"I have enjoyed a wonderful career of writing books for children . Who could have guessed that little girl that was having such a tough time in school would end up an illustrator and author. Children and adults alike ask me where I get my ideas...I get them from the same place that you do....MY IMAGINATION... I would guess the reason my imagination is so fertile is because I came from storytelling and, WE DID NOT OWN A T.V.!!!!!!!!! You see, when one is a writer, actor, dancer, musician; a creator of any kind, he or she does these things because they listen to that "voice" inside of them. All of us have that "voice". It is where all inspired thoughts come from....but when you have electronic screens in front, of you, speaking that voice for you... it DROWNS OUT THE VOICE! When I talk to children and aspiring writers, I always ask them to listen to the voice, turn off the T.V. and


"Now that I have moved back to Union City I am intending to open my house and community and invite people to come there to take part in writing seminars, story telling festivals, literature conferences and various events that celebrate children's literature."

Born Patricia Ann Barber in Lansing, Michigan, to parents of Russian and Ukrainian descent on one side and Irish on the other, Patricia Polacco grew up in both California and Michigan. Her school year was spent in Oakland, California, and summers in her beloved Michigan. She describes her family members as marvelous storytellers. "My fondest memories are of sitting around a stove or open fire, eating apples and popping corn while listening to the old ones tell glorious stories about their homeland and the past. We are tenacious traditionalists and sentimentalists.... With each retelling our stories gain a little more Umph!"

Studying in the United States and Australia, Patricia Polacco has earned an M.F.A. and a Ph. D. in art history, specializing in Russian and Greek painting, and iconographic history. She is a museum consultant on the restoration of icons. As a participant in many citizen exchange programs for writers and illustrators, Patricia Polacco has traveled extensively in Russia as well as other former Soviet republics. She continues to support programs that encourage Russo-American friendships and understanding. She is also deeply involved in inner-city projects here in the U.S. that promote the peaceful resolution of conflict and encourage art and literacy programs.

The mother of a grown son and a daughter, Patricia Polacco currently resides in Michigan, where she has a glorious old farm that was built during the time of Lincoln.

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

Customer Reviews

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Bee Tree 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
kdcoshatt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is about a girl and her grandfather who chase a single bee so that it will lead them back to its nest and they can get the sweet honey that the bees make. While chasing this bee many people ask, "What are yall doing?" they say we are chasing a bee to find the honey and people start to join in and run after the bee with them. Before they know it tons of people are chasing the bee with them. WHen they finally find the nest everyone helps in getting the honey from the nest and then they all eat treats with the sweet bee honey.
MalissaLojszczyk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mary Ellen doesn't want to read, so her grandfather takes her on a great adventure to find a bee tree. In th end, Mary Ellen learns that there is a world of "adventure, knowledge and wisdom" in books and she learned to love reading.
rebecca401 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mary Ellen doesn¿t want to read until she and her Grandpa and many friends follow a bee to the bee tree. He pours fresh, sweet honey on a book and tells her about the sweetness hidden within--a sweetness that has to be pursued with the same kind of endurance as chasing a bee to a bee tree. (A prequel Thank You, Mr. Faulkner, perhaps?) This story also involves many friends who join the bee chase, and the funny sounds they make as they run through the countryside are a joy to read aloud!
wendyfincher on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mary Ellen becomes bored with reading and wants to go out to play. Her grandfather decides to take her on a little adventure to find a bee tree. They first find and capture some bees. They release one bee at a time and follow it. As people see them running after the bee they all join it so that they can have an adventure too. When they find the bee tree, they all work together to collect the honey and return home with Mary Ellen and her grandfather. They all have a party and enjoy the honey. Mary Ellen's grandfather takes her inside and explains that she does not have to run after bees to have an adventure, all she has to do is read a book. This book is a level 4 read and a great way to promote reading.
mrsarey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a sweet little tale about following bees to a bee tree and the lesson that went with it.
cvyork on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Exciting action sequence that loosely ties to the beginning to the end.
jebass on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When Mary Ellen gets tired of reading, her Grandpa takes her on a wild adventure, leading a running chase after honeybees to find the honey hive. Along the way, several animals and neighbors join in the chase and everyone shares in the honey harvest. When the day is over, Mary Ellen's Grandpa instructs her to lick honey off of the cover of her book to make the point that sweet things like adventure, wisdom and knowledge can be found INSIDE the book, too; but, to get it, you must chase it through the pages of the book, much like the crowd chased the bees for the sweetness of the honey.This book is a great book about books--a funny story to lead the readers to the message that reading is worthwhile.
NancyLibrarian More than 1 year ago
When a little girl wants to be up and doing instead of reading her lesson, her grandfather takes her outside to find a 'bee tree', a tree in which bees have made their honey. He starts by catching some bees and then releasing one at a time to follow to their nest. The chase picks up a lot of excited people, so there is a crowd to enjoy a feast of honey eventually. But then Grandpa shows the girl the sweetness of books, too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you don¿t like reading, read this book and go to a bee tree. This will sweeten up your reading. This book tells you, if you don¿t like reading try to make it fun. In the book, Mary Ellen doesn¿t like reading and her grandpa suggests going to a bee Tree! On their way to the bee tree a bunch of people stop by and tag along. When they got to the bee tree they had a lot of honey. They had so much honey they threw a party! Everybody who tagged along came and they had a party with honey flavored foods. I really enjoyed this book so I think you will too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story is very good and if you don¿t want to read then go to a bee tree and sweeten up your book and read it some more!! If you like to read but sometimes you get tired of reading, than this book would be perfect for you!! In this story Patricia Polacco really brings out the characters old fashioned look!! If you read this book you can really picture the book even though there are already pictures in the story! Maybe you can follow bees to their bee tree and do the sane thing Mary Ellen did!! I can¿t believe all those people followed Mary Ellen and her grandfather just to get to a bee tree!! I bet Mary Ellen and her grandfather had a lot of honey for the party afterwards!! If you read this book I hope you will like it just like I did!!!