By: James D. Bell
Publisher: Independently Published
Publication Date: October 30, 2023
Review Date: November 28, 2023
Author of two legal thrillers as well as a retired Mississippi Judge, James D. Bell has recently released his first children’s book, BeeBop: The Honeybee Wannabee Hero. This early reader is the sweet story of a determined young bee named BeeBop, who is abandoned at birth, and his journey to fit in and prove himself among the hive that adopted him.
The story of BeeBop opens as a hive has been destroyed by a bear, leaving nothing but destruction except for one lone egg that is somehow unscathed. The bees, surveying the damage, decide to take the egg back to their Queen so she can determine what to do with it. That egg turns out to be our hero, BeeBop. As he grows up among his adopted brothers and sisters, he learns all he can from the Queen. The time soon comes for BeeBop to begin attending school, where he will learn all he needs to become a productive member of the hive. Once there, he quickly learns that he is not welcome as a big bully named Buzz makes comments about him not being “one of them.” When BeeBop comments about wanting to be a hero one day, Buzz laughs at him, telling him that he’s “too puny to be a hero,” and that he should leave the “hero business” to Buzz. This makes BeeBop feel very alone and miserable.
One of the young bee’s first assignments is to find nectar for the hive, which is running dangerously low with winter quickly approaching. BeeBop partners with his one close friend, BettyBee, and off they go in search of nectar for the hive. Buzz and BeeBop clash again as they argue over the same patch of flowers, which ultimately leads to them losing the flowers to another group of bees. After this, BettyBee flies away, upset with BeeBop for the way he argued with Buzz and lost their nectar, leaving BeeBop to find nectar alone. He soon finds the biggest patch of flowers he has ever seen, but upon returning to the hive to announce his discovery, no one believes him, except for BettyBee. She travels with him to see the patch for herself only to discover that the flowers are gone. It is now up to BeeBop to overcome the most challenging of obstacles in order to gain the respect of his fellow bees and provide much-needed nectar for his hive community.
BeeBop: The Honeybee Wannabee Hero is a sweet, charming story with a meaningful message about bullying that kids and parents alike will appreciate. The book is written in chapter format and has a few illustrations interspersed throughout. There is also a parent and teacher’s guide, a test, and a vocabulary list at the back of the book to enhance learning. The story is written simply using words kids can understand, but due to the fact that it is a chapter book, and it is 76 pages long, I would recommend the book for grades three and up.
Quill says: With BeeBop: The Honeybee Wannabee Hero, James D. Bell has penned a touching story of loyalty, perseverance, forgiveness, and belonging that children and parents alike can relate to, complete with a hero that every reader will root for throughout the story.