When it comes to instilling strong values in children, I personally feel it's important to teach them early on. We do this with our own son, teaching him virtues and Godly character. Even though he is still quite young, our hope is that it will stick with him as he gets older. This holds true with teaching him the value of hard work with simple things like putting a book back on the shelf or picking up his toys. Lately, we've been reading Marie and Mr. Bee by children's author Margaret Welwood. Not only has this story touched my heart, but my son just loves it when I read it to him.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Margaret Welwood has written over 100 traditionally published magazine and newspaper articles and edited a diabetes education guide that won first place in the reference category of the Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards (2010). She also taught English as a Second Language for years with stories as a mainstay.
"Now a new door has opened into Storyland . . . the world I’m exploring with my grandchildren. My first picture book for children, "Scissortown," is the only one I know of that offers a choice of inside back cover. "Marie and Mr. Bee" offers a choice of last page. I also like to encourage young readers and writers--my site features stories and art by children 7-12 years old. You may wish to check out some of their interesting and colorful creations."
Marie and Mr. Bee is inspired by Proverbs 12:14 in the Bible:
A man will be filled with good from the fruit of his words, and the work of a man’s hands will return to him.
In Marie and Mr. Bee, we find Marie who lives all alone in a cabin in the woods. She enjoys the company of her woodland friends, two squirrels, a bear, and a fox. Marie also knows the value of hard work and actually enjoys it. One day Mr. Bee comes flying into Marie's cabin. While there, he questions why she works so hard and begins to brag about the many rewards he receives without even needing to lift a finger (or should I say "a wing"). This puts Marie in a tizzy and makes her question her own actions. Is she wrong for working so hard each and everyday? Should she just let chores and errands go? She soon finds out that things aren't what they seem to be and the grass isn't always greener on the other side.
Our copy of Marie and Mr. Bee arrived with a special note from the author, personally written for my son. The illustrations are cheerful and bright. We especially enjoyed the adorable pictures of Mr. Bee drinking up sugar and tomato sauce (I won't give much away. You'll have to see for yourself). The last page was my favorite, along with the story's heartwarming ending that almost brought a tear to my eye.
Originally, I didn't think much about Marie being in a wheelchair. It's obvious that she has some type of disability, but we aren't sure what it is and if it's temporary or long term. Although this isn't really an intricate part of the story, I decided to step back and look at things from a young child's perspective. There is a great lesson to be learned here (aside from all the others included in this book). Marie is extremely self-sufficient and doesn't let the fact that she's in a wheelchair get in the way of her accomplishing her day-to-day tasks, whether it's cooking, cleaning, gathering fire wood, or even enjoying a fun game of tag with her animal friends. Even though the story doesn't focus on this aspect, I think it's very important for children to see how these types of circumstances don't have to discourage us and hold us back from taking care of our responsibilities, or even stop us from doing anything else we want to accomplish in our own lives.
Marie and Mr. Bee is such a meaningful tale that focuses on values and virtues such as hard work and diligence. It also offers a very important lesson on forgiveness, having a humble spirit, and forging new friendships. These are all principles that I want my son to learn and have stick with him as he gets older, so it's always a pleasure reading beautiful children's stories such as this one.
I'm very happy to be offering a giveaway opportunity for Our Everyday Harvest readers. One winner will receive an autographed copy of Margaret Welwood's Marie and Mr. Bee. To enter, you can follow the Rafflecopter prompts, below.
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