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A Hive of Busy Bees

post written by Emma Filbrun

A Hive of Busy Bees by Effie M. WilliamsTitle: A Hive of Busy Bees (Rod & Staff edition)
Author: Effie M. Williams
Major Themes: Character Building, Family Life
Synopsis: When their mother becomes ill, Dan and Joyce must go stay on their grandparent’s farm, where Grandma tells them stories each evening.

A Hive of Busy Bees is one of the books I remember from way back when I was very young. I think someone gave it to our family, and I remember loving it and reading it many times.There are at least two editions of it available, but this one from Rod & Staff Publishers is the one that holds good memories for me. Also, I have just looked at several other editions online, and apparently Rod & Staff changed the story slightly. The original story has the children and their parents going separate directions for the summer holidays, because the children wanted to visit their grandparents and the parents wanted to go fishing for a couple of weeks. In this edition, Mother gets sick and the children must go stay with their grandparents while she recovers. This seems a little more family-friendly than the original, which split up the family. On the other hand, there are more chapters in some of the other editions. It’s always interesting to see how books have been changed!

Don and Joyce’s mother suddenly became ill and had to to go to the hospital. Because of the severity of her illness, the children were sent to Grandpa and Grandma’s farm to stay for several weeks. Soon after their arrival, Joyce was stung by one of Grandpa’s honeybees, and that gave Grandma a theme for a series of stories she told the children at bedtime during their visit. Each story was given a title, such as Bee Loving, Bee Helpful, or Bee Kind. In each of the stories, a child either did something that was loving, helpful or kind, or else did not do it and “was stung by the bee” and regreted his or her action for the rest of his life.

These are good stories to read aloud in a morning devotional time, or bedtime. I recently read it to my 5-year-old for his afternoon story time. He loved this book! My almost-3-year-old loved it, too, and wanted me to read it first, so she could hear it before she fell asleep for her nap (I read to the older ones while I rock her). She spent a lot of time studying the silhouette pictures that illustrate the stories at other times, too.

No warnings!

Age Levels:

Read Aloud—Ages 3 – 4, 5 – 8, Family Read Alouds
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12


Links to buy A Hive of Busy Bees:

Amazon: Paperback

AbeBooks: View Choices on

Book Depository: Paperback

Other Places: Milestone Books—Paperback


Character Building, Family Life

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