Published by Orca Book Publishers on September 1, 2015
How do you plan for the future when your own parents don't believe you have one?
Wolf’s mother is obsessed with saving the world’s honeybees, so it’s not too surprising when she announces that she’s taking her Save the Bees show on the road—with the whole family. Wolf thinks it’s a terrible plan, and not just because he’ll have to wear a bee costume—in public. He likes his alternative school and hates the idea of missing weeks of classes. His teenage stepsister doesn’t want to leave her boyfriend, and one of his little half sisters has stopped talking altogether, but Wolf’s mom doesn’t seem to notice. She’s convinced that the world is doomed unless ordinary people take extraordinary action. It isn’t until the kids take some drastic action of their own that she is forced to listen when Wolf tells her that dragging the family around the province in a beat-up Ford panel van may not be the best idea she ever had.
I had the pleasure of meeting Robin Stevenson a couple of years ago at the wonderful independent bookstore in Pointe-Claire Village called, Livres Babar Books. Robin’s enthusiasm for life can be experienced by those around her and this ability transmits to the books she writes. “The Summer We Saved the Bees,” is no exception.
When Wolf chooses the fragile future of the bees as his school project, he had no idea how this would change his life and those of his siblings. Wolf’s mother launches the family into a cross-country mission to spread the demise of the bees to everyone else in Canada.
Filled with real life challenges and disagreements, this story takes you on an emotional roll-a-coaster ride through the eyes of a tween. Part family peace-maker and part rebel, the life experiences Wolf goes through is enhanced with examples from the dance of the bees.
I really felt for the main character in this story. I felt Wolfe’s frustration as I read deeper into the story. He wants to obey his mom’s wishes and please her, like a good son would, but he also wants to scream and shout at her for being completely irrational about this whole journey and ruining his life. This was a school project and now he’s leaving his best friend behind to drive across country in a cramped van with his family to spread the word of… bees! And having to wear a bee costume on top of this! At times I had to put the book down because I wanted to grab his mom and give her a shake. How could she do this to her kids? How could she be so self-absorbed that she has no clue wants going on within her own family, yet she wants to take on the demise of the bees? ARG!
Well, I guess you can see that this is a book full of angst. I rooted for Wolf and cheered him on. Thank goodness he had more patience than I ever would for my mom, if I found myself in the same situation. In fact, Wolf was more of a parent than his mom ever would be. It shows his strength of character. This book captures very typical emotions and behavior experienced by anyone who was ever a tween. With summer at our doorsteps and bees buzzing in the air, tweens everywhere should embark on an adventure with Wolf across Canada to save the bees.