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The Royal Bee [Paperback]

Frances and Ginger Park , Christopher Zhang
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
List Price: CDN$ 11.75
Price: CDN$ 10.78 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Feb. 1 2000
Based on a true story, The Royal Bee is an elegantly written tale that pays tribute to a young boy's courage and strength of character. Song-ho is a young Korean boy destined by birth to a life of poverty. Barred from going to school--only the sons of wealthy families could attend--he dreams of learning to read and write. Then one day he hears the sound of a school bell and follows it deep into the valley. There, the school master turns him away, but Song-ho's boldness and determination earn him a chance at gaining an education nevertheless. Dramatically illustrated with richly textured oil paintings, the story offers glimpses of daily life in Korea a century ago--for both the rich and the poor.

Frequently Bought Together

The Royal Bee + Freedom Summer + Composition (Tr)
Price For All Three: CDN$ 27.35

  • Freedom Summer CDN$ 9.02
  • Composition (Tr) CDN$ 7.55

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The Park sisters once again look back to their Korean roots for inspiration, but this time they undermine the suspense employed to such strong effect in their debut, My Freedom Trip. Song-ho, a sangmin boy, performs household chores dressed in rags while the privileged yangban dress in finery, attend school and compete in the Royal Bee at the Governor's palace. One day, Master Min catches Song-ho eavesdropping at the schoolroom door. When Song-ho asks the master if he can become his pupil, learn to read and write and thus "earn a good living for his mother," the man dismisses the boy. Readers may be confounded when a turn of the page reveals an abrupt about-face; the story line plants Song-ho firmly inside the classroom where he is inexplicably accepted into the school ("After each yangban pupil in the classroom had tested Song-ho, Master Min spoke: 'Welcome to the Sodang School, Song-ho' "). This clumsy transition at the plot's pivotal point cuts into the credibility and flow of the tale. A similar narrative leap omits the boy's climb to the top of the class and his peers' growing respect, which results in their selecting him as representative of the school for the Royal Bee competition. Rendered in oil paints on board, Zhong-Yuan Zhang's (Moon Festival) inconsistent paintings intermittently depict characters as blurred or wooden, yet successfully convey the likable hero's sincerity and determination. Ages 6-9. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-Inspired by the childhood experiences of the authors' grandfather in the late 19th century, this moving story tells about a poor Korean boy who perseveres in getting an education, thereby raising himself and his mother out of poverty. Drawn away from his household chores by the sound of the school bell in the valley, Song-ho is told by the master that only the privileged yangban children may attend. Each day, however, the boy listens outside the door. One cold morning, the kind master invites him in. Successfully answering the pupils' study-based questions, Song-ho is not only allowed to join the school, but is also selected later to represent it in The Royal Bee, where the best student in the land is determined. His final answer to "What does winning The Royal Bee mean to you?" brings him a standing ovation and the winner's rewards. This simply and eloquently told tale is well paired with large, bold oil-paint-on-board illustrations. The soft earth-tone palette brightens to capture the excitement of The Royal Bee at the Governor's palace. A fine work portraying the culture of a Korea 100 years ago.
Diane S. Marton, Arlington County Library, VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Royal Bee is a royal treasure! Feb. 5 2001
Format:Hardcover
This book's underlying issue is the idea that the pursuit of literacy is, consequently, the pursuit of a dream and a way out of poverty. In fact, Song-ho often repeats the phrase, "If I only knew how to read and write..." The message is clear--through persistence, dedication, and with a kind heart, one can achieve anything he or she puts his or her mind to. I believe this book to be very enlightening for children who have difficulties in school, especially if a classroom teacher or parent discusses the book from a critical, socially aware point of view. Illuminate children to the fact that "poor" children are nonetheless very rich in heart and spirit, and are as hopeful as any child. Also point out that even though this book takes place in the nineteenth century, its theme will resonate for any generation. I recommend this book wholeheartedly!
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Royal Bee is a royal treasure! Feb. 5 2001
By Tara Angiolilli - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book's underlying issue is the idea that the pursuit of literacy is, consequently, the pursuit of a dream and a way out of poverty. In fact, Song-ho often repeats the phrase, "If I only knew how to read and write..." The message is clear--through persistence, dedication, and with a kind heart, one can achieve anything he or she puts his or her mind to. I believe this book to be very enlightening for children who have difficulties in school, especially if a classroom teacher or parent discusses the book from a critical, socially aware point of view. Illuminate children to the fact that "poor" children are nonetheless very rich in heart and spirit, and are as hopeful as any child. Also point out that even though this book takes place in the nineteenth century, its theme will resonate for any generation. I recommend this book wholeheartedly!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get this book! Oct. 26 2008
By J. DuBose - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a book I use with first graders to introduce the comprehension concepts of questioning, and predicting. They love the rich illustrations. The cover gives no hint as to what the "bee" is. The way their understanding of the story unfolds is wonderful. I highly recommend this book for teachers.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Feb. 16 2009
By Trixie Kyritsis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a wonderful book about perserverance and teaching children about social justice. I have used it a number of times with students and highly recommend it. So many different ways to use a teacher!
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the story May 3 2014
By The Duke and not a Bear - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a book my daughter wanted, after getting it for her and reading why. It was well worth the story.
5.0 out of 5 stars A story to applaud! Jan. 11 2014
By Elissa D Brannan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:School & Library Binding|Verified Purchase
I used this book in my 3rd grade classroom to teach a lesson on inferences by an author. We took 2 days to read this story so we could really break it down. We LOVED this story-the kids applauded when I finished. It is a story that teaches so many things-perserverance, an appreciation for education, as well as how students (specifically socioeconomic classes) were treated in Korea. The illustrations are lovely and the author keeps our attention beautlifully! A wonderful story to add to any classroom library.
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