Sam is a wanderer who travels with little more than the shirt on his back. One day, after washing in the river, he discovered that a bunch of bees had decided to make his pants pocket their new home. At first Sam didn't think that roaming with bees would work, but then he changed his mind. The group was inseparable, but when the weather started to cool, Sam noticed they were slowing down. He went into the village to find work and a warm place for him and his bees, but no one would have them. Just as he was about to give up, Lady Meg rolled up beside them in her horse-drawn mobile home. Like Sam, she wasn't welcome many places either. Not because of bees, but because of her cats! The two decided to team up and everyone lived happily ever after.
This is a sweet story with a nice message for young readers. Sam's kindness shines through and I liked him instantly. It doesn't take long for a reader to focus on the person and not his station in life. Lady Meg, on the other hand, "scared" me. She is bigger, bolder and an over-the-top contrast in persona and illustration. The instant "love" and companionship was a bit too fast given the pacing of the rest of the story. I lvoe a happy ending, but finished the book disappointed not uplifted.
Bright, colorful illustrations invite kids to travel the woods with Sam. There are wonderful and just-right messages about kindness, compromise, empathy, judging others, and friendship that will endear Sam to your reader.
None, really. Be aware that the bees "pay back" Sam for his kindness by stinging his knees. That eases his rheumatoid arthritis. Kids are not likely to understand this type of medical treatment.
This is a picture book with a lesson in judging others, compassion, and being yourself.
Your readers likely feel sorry for Sam, and maybe Lady Meg; be sure to ask them how they would react if someone who looked or acted like them walked up to them in real life. What would they do? How would they feel? Their answer is a great chance to talk about pity v. empathy and compassion.
9 and Up
3 to 8
Borrow. This is a story you may read a couple of times - and the kids may want to look at the illustrations - but they will likely grow out of it quickly.