I finally started a new book this morning after not being able to settle enough to read, these last couple of months. The YA sci-fi themed book, How To Bee, is written by my online friend, Bren MacDibble (@macdibble). An ex-pat New Zealander living in Australia. I’ve read her work on and off for a number of years and always get excited to get my hands on a real, honest to goodness, print copy of her work.
Why? Because they are always beautifully printed, carefully crafted, and with prose that will melt your heart, uplift your spirits, or make you damn well laugh out loud and, if you’re not careful, snort coffee all over the place—which happened to me reading her sci-fi short story, Delicacy, some years back.
How To Bee is a feisty, heartfelt read, with prose that just flows pulling you straight into Peony’s world, and her place in it. This young girl’s life isn’t plain sailing, set in the future where insects are extinct and fruiting trees are hand pollinated by young, agile kids, who scramble through the branches, doing bee’s work.
In a world where real bees are extinct, the quickest, bravest kids climb the fruit trees and pollinate the flowers by hand. Peony lives with her sister, Magnolia, and her grandfather on a fruit farm outside the city. All Peony really wants is to be a bee. Even though she is only nine — and bees must be ten — Peony already knows all there is to know about being a bee and she is determined to achieve her dream.
Life on the farm is a scrabble, but there is enough to eat and a place to sleep, and there is love. Then Peony’s mother arrives to take her away from everything she has ever known. Peony is taken to the city to work for a wealthy family. Will Peony’s grit and quick thinking be enough to keep her safe?
I’m half way through already, and loving every last word of Peony’s struggle to achieve her dream and, no matter what age you are, I highly recommend you grab yourself a real, or virtual copy, and thoroughly enjoy a trip into the future where little girls can, and will.
This is, without a doubt, a 5 star read.
Bren MacDibble was raised on farms all over New Zealand, so is an expert about being a kid on the land. She now lives in Melbourne with her family and a cheeky dog, Basil, works with gifted children, and teaches writing at TAFE.
Check out more at her website: www.macdibble.com
Title: How To Bee
Author: Bren MacDibble
Publisher: Groundwood, 2020 (Allen & Unwin 2018)
Genre: YA SF | Children’s Fiction | Environment
WINNER: CBCA Book of the Year, Younger Readers, 2018
WINNER: 2018 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature
WINNER: 2018 New Zealand Book Awards, Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction