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Beholding Bee Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (February 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375868364
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375868368
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-6-In this blend of magical realism and historical fiction set in 1942 New England, 11-year-old orphan Bee travels with a carnival, assisting her guardian at the hot-dog stand and shielding the diamond-shaped birthmark on her face from stares and taunts. She longs for a real home to share with Pauline, who taught her to read and keeps a notebook about Bee's childhood. When Pauline and her new boyfriend are sent away by the sinister carnival owner to establish another show, Bee runs away with runt pig Cordelia and stray dog Peabody. She comes upon an inviting old house and is welcomed by two elderly women only she can see: Mrs. Potter, whom Bee has "glimpsed" before when in need of comfort, and Mrs. Swift, a prickly suffragette. Settling in, Bee starts school, is placed in a class for the disabled, makes a friend in leg-brace-wearing Ruth Ellen and an enemy in bully Francine, discovers startling secrets about her own family, and gradually develops self-sufficiency even as her old "aunts" begin to fade. While many of the motifs are derivative and the plot is predictable, the elements come together in a satisfying story, narrated in the unique voice of a spunky and endearing heroine. The writing is often lyrical, chapters are short, and details of the time period add interest and texture. Fans of Kate DiCamillo, Jennifer Holm, and Polly Horvath will find this an enjoyable and engrossing read.-Marie Orlando, formerly at Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Bee goes to great pains to hide her facial birthmark from the world. And no wonder: people are overly curious or just outright mean. Take the menacing Ellis, who uses the orphaned child in his traveling carnival as a potential freak-show attraction. Bee, meanwhile, helps run the show’s hot-dog stand and lives in a hauling truck. Just as the sheer bleakness of Bee’s situation threatens to overwhelm the plot, allies emerge among the traveling crew to help her find strength. The story then takes a fanciful turn as two feisty ancestors, whom no one else can see, empower Bee and lead her to a real home. Fusco’s unique WWII-era coming-of-age tale delicately balances the cruel challenges flung at Bee with the resilience and fight she gradually develops. Whether it be everyday bullies, a school system that fails her, or abandonment and loss, Bee’s supporters stand with her, one challenge at a time. A unique feel-good story about an appealing heroine, her rallying angels, and the search for love and home. Grades 4-8. --OMalley, Anne

More About the Author

Like Cornelia in TENDING TO GRACE, I have always been "a bookworm, a bibliophile, a passionate lover of books." As a child my favorite reading spot was my tree house, and I spent hours there with piles of books. I walked the mile to our town library every few days for a new supply. My favorite books were Harriet the Spy, Island of the Blue Dolphins and Where the Red Fern Grows.

I knew I wanted to be a writer in the sixth grade. I never wanted to be anything else. I was a young person who stuttered, and writing gave me a voice. When teachers started telling me I was talented, I never looked back. I wrote for the literary magazine my church youth group started, "The Worm's Eye View," and then walked door-to-door selling it for twenty-five cents an issue.

I studied writing in college and graduated from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. In 2002, I submitted ten pages of a novel to Alfred A. Knopf executive editor Michelle Frey. Michelle told me what I had written was good, but not good enough. She thought I could write the kind of literary novel that Knopf publishes, and she said if I tried again, she would take another look. I threw out that fledgling novel and started over, writing for almost a year, and when I finished TENDING TO GRACE, I had written a novel about Cornelia, a young girl who stutters. That novel received the American Library Association's Schneider Family Book Award.

Since then I have published THE WONDER OF CHARLIE ANNE, a Parent's Choice Silver Medal winner, and soon, BEHOLDING BEE, which began in my reporting days when I interviewed a girl who worked with her parents at a traveling carnival.

I am drawn to characters like Cornelia, Charlie Anne, and Bee, who "put on bigger boots and keep going," no matter what the difficulty. They help me remember to never give up....and to write every day!

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
The secondary characters are wonderful also.
All Kimberly Newton Fusco books can be read by children as well as adults and I encourage you to collect them for your home library.
Joan Sadler
These women become increasingly present in Bee's life to the degree that Bee's need for guidance and love increases.
Gerardine L Ranft

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By middle-grade teacher on February 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a teacher of 4th/5th grade. I have used Fusco's two previous books as read-alouds in my class--the compelling plots, the depth of character development, and her skill with language make these perfect to teach important lessons about reading and writing to this age group.
Beholding Bee will be a wonderful addition to my classroom library. Fusco's ear for the language of children this age is right on. Kids will recognize both the harsh realities and the true acts of kindness that are found in the middle grades and will take hope from the way Bee gains the inner strength to deal with her challenges.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Cathy B on February 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
*Originally posted on The Crazy Bookworm([...])

I simply do not know where to begin. I am warning you know this is going to be more of a love letter than a review. Beholding Bee was one of the most beautiful, most magical books I have ever read!

Kimberly Newton Fusco's writing was superb. Utterly flawless. Her lyrical flow made the words bounce off the page, and play a stunning and vibrant film in my mind. I have never had a book come to life quite like this. The author's world building was crafted so beautifully. I love how she separated the book into 3 parts. It really broke down Bee's transformation perfectly.

The characters, oh gosh, those characters! Bee is the main character and what a character she is. She is so strong and mature at 12 years old. She is so precious, I absolutely fell in love with her. Bee will forever be in my heart. There were qualities of Bee that I saw in myself, and there are certain experiences we share; It was a pleasure to be able to relate with her. Don't think that Bee is the only spirited character, oh no! The author penned a vivacious secondary cast. Everyone has there spot and plays their part. Lot's of stories are told and by the end, your heart will be swelling!

This book tackles it all; World War II, bullying, family matters and self discovery. Bee's world will unfold right in front of your very eyes. I am so happy I had the pleasure of reading this novel.

Magical, enchanting, and simply wonderful.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gorelenore on February 12, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Background: Bee is a young girl who works for a traveling show. Her parent died when she was about 4 about she has since lived with the show and a teenager named Pauline. Bee is not your normal girl, she is special. she has a diamond on her face, a birthmark. She hates people staring but sometimes they cannot help it.

Review: This was a story about self-discovery, growth, and acceptance. Beatrice, Bee for short, does not know how to deal with how her appearance is taken by others, so she has turned inward. The book is her struggle through this time of bullies, not just children her age, but adults too and how to stand up to them. Bee must learn that independence and strength is all she needs to succeed and become a better person.

I loved this book, I did not want to get out the car (where I listen to my audiobooks). The storytelling was wonderful, from Bee's point of view, it was a combination of frustration, sadness, happiness, and stubbornness all rolled into one package, Bee.

The author uses some fantasy, some history, and some playful takes on coping that were expressed well.

The one issue that I had, was that I felt like a few things were left unresolved in the end. Bee is able to complete her journey, but in the process some loose ends were not cleared up.

I would recommend this book to anyone, Middle Grade readers and adults and teens who like contemporary reading. It was very nice
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Veronica on April 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I read young adult books before reading them with my son. I picked up this one with him in mind but I am going to reread it myself for the sheer pleasure of it.
Bee is so smart and tough and thoughtful, really an amazing heroine.
I had a dog at that age and remember how comforting it was to snuggle with him. The author describes this connection beautifully, and Bee's care of and concern for her animals illustrates her capacity for love despite how alone she is in the world.
The secondary characters are wonderful also. Her friend's mother is a great, unexpected ally. The biographies of the "ghost" aunts show Bee her family history of strong women who were marked as outsiders for very different reasons than the one Bee has to cope with.
The relationships between the children seem realistic and Bee's delight in cooking and a pretty home are fun too.
This is a really excellent book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gerardine L Ranft on July 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wonderful, well written book for young people (middle graders and solid readers who are younger). The book explores the hard life of young Bee. Bee is an orphan born with a "wine-stain" birth mark on her cheek. When she looses her parents Bee becomes swept up by the manager of a traveling circus who has intentions of putting her into his freak show (the birth mark). Bee finds protection and love from Pauline, the young woman who runs the hot-dog/popcorn stand as well as several other kindhearted circus performers. Pauline is able to keep her out of the freak show by having her work and live with her Unfortunately, even these loving people can't keep Bee from falling victim to the taunts and jeers from mean-spirited audiences who truly do find her birth mark freakish.
But Pauline is young and vulnerable as well. She falls victim to a man promising to love her for life. She leaves Bee to follow this man with a promise to come back for her when she can. And Bee is once again seemingly alone. Knowing that without Pauline, she will most certainly become a freak in the show, Bee and an orphaned dog flee the circus.
The true heroines of the book are two sisters who have been watching over Bee for, well for generations! These women become increasingly present in Bee's life to the degree that Bee's need for guidance and love increases. Readers join Bee in coming to understand that guidance and love transcend time and space; that the women who have gone before you remain in your DNA, in your heart, and even in your Kitchen!
A story about accepting love from even unlikely sources for young and "old" readers alike
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