Honeybees and Frenemies
In Kristi Wientge’s new novel, Honeybees and Frenemies, 12-year-old Florence (aka Flor) is having the worst summer ever. Her best friend Brooke has just left for band camp. Her father’s mattress store is on the verge of bankruptcy, raising the alarming prospect that her family may have to move from their hometown in Honeydale, Ohio, to a new home in New Jersey. To make matters worse, Flor has been forced to team up with her former friend and current enemy, Candace, to compete in Honeydale’s 50th anniversary Little Miss Honeybee Pageant. As a part of the competition, the two girls are assigned to do yardwork for a grouchy old recluse named Mr. Henry, whose cruelty to children is the subject of local legend. As the summer progresses, Flor and Candace gradually form a friendship with the mysterious old man, who teaches them to care for the bee hives that he keeps hidden away in his yard. In caring for the bees, the girls renew their friendship and devise an outrageous act for the pageant’s talent competition. With the entire story told through the plucky, often exasperated but always good-natured perspective of its young protagonist, Honeybees and Frenemies is an engaging depiction of the importance of empathy, the rewards of compromise and teamwork, and the need for acceptance and resilience in the face of change. In addition to the life lessons it provides, Wientge’s book also contains a wealth of entertaining information about bees and the important role that they play in our lives, including the “Random Bee Facts” that bees have no eyelids, that they can recognize human faces, and that two tablespoons of honey supplies a bee with enough energy to fly all the way around the world.
David Shirley ©2019 Parents’ Choice
David Shirley’s recent nonfiction titles include A History of Brooklyn Bridge Park and Fix It Leroy! His YA biographies, Every Day I Sing the Blues: The Story of B. B. King and Satchel Paige: Baseball Legend were honored as the New York Public Library’s Best Books for Teens.