The music of bees by Eileen Garvin

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Three highly eccentric characters, different ages and backgrounds, somehow find their paths come together, and the thing that ultimately unites them is the world of bees. Jake is a trumpet playing teenager with a mohawk haircut, his life shattered by a stupid accident that leaves him paraplegic. Alice is a middle-aged loner, trying to contain her surging grief for her dead husband. And Harry is a young misfit with social anxiety, who is always being conned by the wrong people.

Alice is a beekeeper. A panic attack whilst driving, sees her send Jake and his wheelchair off the side of the road and thousands of honeybees buzzing from upturned hives in her truck. That eventful night is the beginning of an unlikely friendship between the two. Alice comes to provide an escape for Jake from his abusive father. Jake discovers a special talent; his musical ear can recognise the sound of a happy queen in the hive. And it is true! I had to check on Google. The queen bee makes a different sound to the rest of the bees, less of a buzz and more of a piping or tooting sound!

Eventually the outcast Harry also joins their home, despite his fear of insects, and contributes his woodworking and problem solving skills. They work together to care for the bees, expand the hives and fight the corrupt insecticide company that threatens their lives.

The music of bees is a truly heartwarming story of friendship between three unlikely people. And along the way you will painlessly learn all about the lives of bees, the dedicated workers, the queen, and the amazing community that bees make up.

Themes: Friendship, Outsiders, Bees, Beekeeping, Caring for the environment.

Helen Eddy