Review Blog

Jul 14 2009

Sting by Raymond Huber

cover image

Walker Books, 2009. ISBN 9781921150890
(Ages 7-10) Ziggy is a little bee who just doesn't fit in. He is called Oddbee by the other bees in the hive because he likes to explore and do different things. He goes on a quest to find out why he doesn't fit in with the other bees. He has many adventures on the way to discovering who he really is and why being different can sometimes be a real help in times of danger.
Sting is told in the first person, from Ziggy's perspective. Huber takes the reader on a wonderful journey told through the eyes of the little bee. It is full of danger for Ziggy, who has to answer many questions about why bees are being trained to sniff out explosives and where the black cloud of killer bees has come from. On the way many fascinating snippets of information about bees are described and the reader becomes very aware of the complex life they lead.
All of the characters seemed real and alive to me. Huber has managed to give his little bees separate and engaging personalities. I particularly liked the way the author used names for the bees starting with Z - Ziggy, Zabel, Queen Zenova and so on. This alliteration and the fast paced action would make the story fun to read aloud.
There are many themes in this book that could be explored through discussion and lessons. It has a strong message of tolerance for difference and an anti-war thread is evident throughout the plot. There is a good glossary at the end with information about bees and the fact that they are dying out throughout the world. Sting would fit into a classroom activity about insects, conservation and understanding of diversity. Classroom ideas can be found here.
Pat Pledger

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