by Kimberly Newton FuscoPublished by: Knopf Books for Young Readers
February 12, 2013
Hardcover, 336 pages
Review by Wisteria©
Beeholding Bee will engage readers from the first page. Life has not been fair to Bee who at eleven became an orphan when both parents were tragically killed. She was born with a disfiguring facial birthmark which causes her to hide and withdraw inwardly. However, fortunately, Pauline, a carnival worker who knew her parents has befriended her. They both work for Ellis, the sleazy owner of the traveling carnival. By day Bee cuts onions and works with Pauline at the hotdog concession. Her home is the back of a hauling truck used by the carnival. She fears Ellis, who lurks around with threats to include Bee in his freak side show act.
Kimberly Newton Fusco uses precise descriptive prose to setting and place for readers to fully realize. Characters are multi-dimentional, descriptively real thus a perfect novel to have students focus on character traits. The novel is written in first person through Bee's voice an important author strategy that makes the reader feel Bee's pain and low self-esteem. Bee would rather be a shadow, hidden and forgotten. Another devastating break forces Bee to take charge, in order to find a new place to live. Readers will adore her spunk and vulnerability, a memorable and relevant character to identify with.
Beholding Bee lends itself to classroom discussion and literature group study in elementary and early middle school. A perfect classroom read aloud with themes reminiscent of Wonder, by R.J. Palacio.
Themes that emerge for discussion-difference, acceptance, bullying, special needs, courage and perseverance, women's roles/rights and more.
Beholding Bee, by Kimberly Newton Fusco is an essential first choice purchase for school and public libraries, and consider a classroom set purchase grade 3+. I'm sure this will be a student favorite...highly recommended.