As a mom of many, I read children’s books quite a bit. Sometimes after reading story after story, it can get monotonous because every book starts to feel similar to the rest. Characters act or look alike, and plots really seem to get repetitive. I love to read to my children, yet I want to read stories that are not only compelling to both my children and myself, but I also want them to help instill the values that our important to our family.
Marie and Mr. Bee, by Margaret Welwood, beautifully fulfills both of these expectations. The story is about a little girl named Marie. She’s a diligent worker, an excellent steward of her home, and a great friend to her forest animal neighbors. One day, she meets Mr. Bee, a cute but somewhat lazy little insect who convinces her that all her efforts just aren’t worth her time. From this beginning, a tale is spun that is easy for children to both understand and to apply to their everyday lives.
There are so many things I found appealing about this story. First of all, I love that the main character, Marie, is in a wheelchair because our family hasn’t encountered many books including characters who have disabilities.. In fact, the fact that she is in a wheelchair never comes across as being a disability because Marie just seems to be so darn good at everything! In addition, the illustrations, by Coralie Rycroft, are colorful, interesting, and engaging. I also really appreciate that Bible verses are included to further delve into the lessons the story presents. Lastly, my kids love to cook, and there’s a recipe at the end of the book for Marie’s very own blueberry pancakes!
As we were reading it, my daughter stopped me halfway through to say, “Mom, I love this story!” Now what better recommendation could you get than that?
For those of you who prefer to stick with secular literature, Margaret has also released a second version which has the same storyline but does not include the biblical references. The front and back cover also vary slightly in order to better distinguish between the two.
As you can see, the only difference here is that the red circle containing the Proverbs reference is missing from the secular edition.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who desires a quality picture book for their child. The lessons learned in this story will surely bring about some wonderful coversations about diligence, stewardship, and good old-fashioned hard work.
(Disclosure- I received a complimentary digital copy of these titles in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own.)