Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Hour of Bees by Lindsay Eagar...

How I Heard About It:  A few weeks before NCTE15 I saw a "Tweet" about this novel.  The title and the cover caught my attention.  While at NCTE I was browsing the publisher booths and came across the book.  After chatting with the representative for a few minutes, she gave me a copy of the book.  I was excited to bring it home and read the ARC that I knew very little about, but was intrigued.

What It Is About:  Carolina is excited about summer and starting junior high with her friends.  This excitement doesn't last long when her father announces to the family they will be spending the summer at her grandfather Serge's ranch in the middle of the New Mexico desert.  The family has decided it is time to move Serge to a facility for people with dementia.  Carol's parents, her younger brother, and her older half sister spend the hottest part of the year at the ranch with Serge.  When Carol first arrives she isn't sure how her grandfather and tries to keep her distance.  As the days and weeks progress, she is begins to be drawn to him and his "stories."  Carolina never knows if she is going to get an "aware" Serge, or a grandfather that has lost touch with reality.  Or has he really lost touch with reality?  The more time they spend together, he begins to share a "story" with her about a tree, a lake, and a woman who can't spend much time on a ranch with her husband.  Once Serge is settled into the home, Carol knows she can't just leave him there without finding out the end to the "story."  She takes it upon herself to rescue him and finally find out the answers she is truly looking for.

What I Thought Of It:  It is a pure joy when I stumble across a new title that I know nothing about and end of loving it.  The story of Carol, Serge, and this mysterious tree in the middle of no where was one of heart, love, and the true meaning of life.  The beginning of the story was a bit slow, but once I was about a 1/4 into it, the plot began to slow and I was absorbed into the adventures of this family out on the ranch.  At first I didn't completely understand the "story" that Serge was sharing with Carolina, but as I read more and more excerpts all aspects came together to form a "magical" tale.  The writing was top-notch and the character development of Carolina and Serge was exceptional.

Who Should Read It:  I'm excited to share this story with my fourth graders later this year.  I'm thinking of using for a read aloud because I know the story will capture the attention (and hearts) of my listeners.  If a reader were to experience this book on their own, they should be in fifth and/or sixth grade.  There are about 360 pages and quite a bit of text on each page.  Middle-school readers would also benefit from reading the story.  Of course any adult reader that enjoy middle-grade stories has to get a copy of the book when it comes out in March of 2016.  Happy Reading!

Rating:  5 STARS out of 5 Stars

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