Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fiction Wednesday - A review of Regarding the bees


Several years ago, I came across a series of books that intrigued me a great deal. The Regarding the... books written by Kate Klise and illustrated by her sister M. Sarah Klise both entertain and enlighten readers. The stories are presented in the form of letters, notes, newspaper articles, and other similar documents, and they are full of clever wordplay, amusing situations, and colorful characters.

Today I have my review of one of these titles, and I hope you get a chance to read the book. 

Kate Klise
Illustrated by M. Sarah Klise
Fiction
For ages 9 to 12
Harcourt, 2007, 978-0-15-205711-4
   The principal of Geyser Creek Middle School, Mr. Russ, is going to be taking off the fall semester, and he has appointed Mr. Sam N. to be the Acting Principal while he is gone. Mr. Sam N. has asked his friend Florence to take care of his seventh grade class so that he can be the Acting Principal.
   Florence lives in California, so she will be teaching her 7th grade class using letters, giving the students assignments regularly. Mr. Sam N. writes to Florence to tell her that this year the seventh graders face a particularly tough BEE (Basic Education Evaluation) in December. Apparently, the powers that be have decided that any seventh grader who does not do well in the BEEs will have to repeat middle school. The only problem is that he does not tell Florence what BEE stands for, so she is under the impression that he is talking about real honest-to-goodness bees, as in the insects.
   Not surprisingly, the fact that Florence does not know that the BEE is an exam and not an insect causes rather a lot of confusion. Instead of helping her class prepare for the exam, she sets about educating them about bees. She even sends them a pet bee and some hives to take care of.
   This misunderstanding is only the tip of the iceberg though. In addition to the BEE problem, Mr. Sam N. and his wife Goldie are having communication issues, as are Chef Angelo and his wife Angel. Then there is also the fact that Polly Nader, a teacher at Springfield Middle School, is determined that her students must win the Show-Me Spelling Bee and do well on the BEEs so that she can win the HIVE (Highly Innovative and Victorious Educator) Prize. She is willing to do anything to make this happen, including trying to get Florence removed from her job as teacher.
   Packed with bee-related information and clever word play, this deliciously clever story will keep readers on their toes, as they try to guess what crazy thing is going to happen next. Instead of using a straight narrative, the author tells the story using letters, newspaper articles, and school assignments. Readers will be amused to see how a simple lack of communication causes all kinds of misunderstandings and problems.
   This is one of the titles in a series of books by created by sisters Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise. 

1 comment:

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