Lata Mani’s “The Bee Master”, from the house of one of my favourite publishers, Tulika books, took me by surprise or should I say shock?
On the balcony of little Gowri’s house, there is a bee hive. I can’t imagine living in a house where there’s a bee-hive in my balcony. I’ll be under perpetual fear of being stung by the bees. Calling pest control would have been my reluctant solution, which would mean spraying the hive with pesticide and killing the bees.
However, Gowri’s mother calls a bee master (Mr. Ramaiah) over. The bee master talks to the bees, chants mantras and uses a herbal medicine to get the bees drowsy. Then he collects them in a mesh.
Instead of the conventional methods of spraying with an insecticide or shooing them or burning the hive, he gently removes the hive so that he can transplace it to a place away from humans, which is more suited for the bees as well.
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- It is amazing that what would have only been a small notice in a corner of a newspaper has been turned into an absorbing picture book by the imagination of an able story-teller.
- Priyankar Gupta’s illustrations have definitely contributed to give the book the feel of a story book.
- This method is advocated by the Government Bee Training Centre of Bangalore.
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- A novel way for children to learn by themselves by building a story around information.
- Though the value of the book is seemingly lost after a single read, a collection of such books can serve a valuable reference book. Children can also exchange information with their friends with minimal parental interference.
A copy of this book was given me by the publishers, Tulika in return for an honest review. Thanks Tulika.