The Queen Bee and Me
Meg has been friends with confident, self-assured Beatrix since kindergarten. She's always found comfort in Beatrix's shadow—even their families call them Beatrix-and-Meg. But middle school has brought some changes in Beatrix, especially when Meg tries to step outside her role as sidekick. Upsetting Beatrix means risking The Freeze—or worse.Meg gets into a special science elective and wants to take the class, no matter what Beatrix thinks. But when quirky new girl Hazel becomes Meg's science partner, Beatrix sets her sights on Hazel. At first, Meg is taken aback at how mean Beatrix can be—and how difficult it is to stand up to her friend. But as Meg gets to know Hazel while working on their backyard beehive project, she starts to wonder: What's it really like to be the Queen Bee? And more importantly: Is being Beatrix's friend worth turning down the possibility of finding her own voice?

The Queen Bee and Me Details

TitleThe Queen Bee and Me
Author
ReleaseMar 3rd, 2020
PublisherBloomsbury Children's Books
ISBN-139781681197517
Rating
GenreChildrens, Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction

The Queen Bee and Me Review

  • Kathie
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to the publisher for an ARC of this book for #bookportage.Meg and Beatrix have been friends for many years, but Meg is starting to see a different side of her friend that's hard to like. When a new girl, Hazel, arrives at school who has her own sense of style, and an affinity for bees, Beatrix takes an immediate dislike to her. Meg ends up as Hazel's partner in their science elective, and the two girls hit it off, but Beatrix isn't going to let Meg walk away from her without a scene. Thank you to the publisher for an ARC of this book for #bookportage.Meg and Beatrix have been friends for many years, but Meg is starting to see a different side of her friend that's hard to like. When a new girl, Hazel, arrives at school who has her own sense of style, and an affinity for bees, Beatrix takes an immediate dislike to her. Meg ends up as Hazel's partner in their science elective, and the two girls hit it off, but Beatrix isn't going to let Meg walk away from her without a scene. The drama extends to the adults as Beatrix's mother want to get rid of the bees that Hazel and her mom recently moved to their new house.I really loved how this story accurately captured how difficult changing friendship can be at this age. Not only do we see the power dynamics shift with the girls, but also their mothers, and I love that the author touched on the fact that grown women are not immune to difficult friendships, too. I loved watching Meg begin to figure out the kind of person she wants to be, and that she was the one to help her mom see a different perspective, too. We also learn some important factual information about bees and their importance to the environment. This is a great middle grade story to pass along to students as they explore their own changing friendship dynamics and figuring out who they want to be. I will definitely be adding it to our library's collection when it comes out on March 3, 2020.
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  • Laurie Hnatiuk
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Edelweiss plus, Gillian McDunn and publisher Bloomsbury Children's Books for the opportunity to read an ARC for our #bookportage group. Well this book was a one sit read until the early hours of the morning, I simply could not put it down, Ms McDunn has captured what it is like to be a female in middle school. Meg has been best friends with Beatrix since kindergarten, but now in seventh grade, things are not quite the same. Beatrix is the Queen Bee and Meg is finding that if you do Thank you to Edelweiss plus, Gillian McDunn and publisher Bloomsbury Children's Books for the opportunity to read an ARC for our #bookportage group. Well this book was a one sit read until the early hours of the morning, I simply could not put it down, Ms McDunn has captured what it is like to be a female in middle school. Meg has been best friends with Beatrix since kindergarten, but now in seventh grade, things are not quite the same. Beatrix is the Queen Bee and Meg is finding that if you do not do what Beatrix likes or wants you to do, you suffer. When Meg has an opportunity to take a special science elective without Beatrix, she isn’t sure how to break the news to her. When new classmate Hazel, unknowingly shares to Beatrix that they are both taking the science elective before Meg tell Beatrix, the lines are drawn and Beatrix sets out to make Hazel’s life miserable by focusing on Hazel’s passion for beekeeping. I know many readers will identify with The Freeze tactic that Meg suffers and how cleverly Beatrix is able to deliver cruel blows while it comes across sincere and sweet to adults. It is also crystal clear the girl’s behaviours are learned and reinforced by the relationships with their girl’s mothers which will not be lost on readers of this age group. We also learn a little bit about bees and the reasons why they are important to ecosystems which is a hot topic and again will be of interest to many readers without it being overwhelming and overpowering the story. Ms. McDunn has cleverly woven the science of bees into this story of friendship and finding your role in the hive. This will be a popular read and also a springboard for discussions. Another stellar addition to classrooms and libraries March 3/2020.
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  • Jody
    January 1, 1970
    Another winner from Gillian McDunn following her brilliant CATERPILLAR SUMMER debut. Navigating the complicated and changing friendships in middle school is no small feat. This novel captures those struggles and adds the wonderful science of beekeeping. Fascinating and captivating. Don't miss it in 2020!
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  • Rebecca Petruck
    January 1, 1970
    This kind, thoughtful look at friendship is as much a superorganism as the beehive in the novel! McDunn has a deft, gentle touch in pointing out the roles we each play in our relationships, including the negative ones. I know young readers, especially girls, will appreciate having someone acknowledge, without judgment, that sometimes we all make mistakes. The important thing is how we behave afterward. "Bee Kind" may be a cliched pun, but truly it's always a good place to start. We are all This kind, thoughtful look at friendship is as much a superorganism as the beehive in the novel! McDunn has a deft, gentle touch in pointing out the roles we each play in our relationships, including the negative ones. I know young readers, especially girls, will appreciate having someone acknowledge, without judgment, that sometimes we all make mistakes. The important thing is how we behave afterward. "Bee Kind" may be a cliched pun, but truly it's always a good place to start. We are all superorganisms! <3
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    Copy provided by the publisherMeg has been friends with Beatrix since they were young, but there have been times recently where their friendship has been strained. Beatrix has a going-getting real estate agent mother and a more luxurious life style, and she has recently taken to thinking that Meg is a bit babyish. It doesn't help when quirky new girl, Hazel, moves to town and is invited to Beatrix's family party, where she doesn't make a good impression. Meg likes Hazel but knows too well that Copy provided by the publisherMeg has been friends with Beatrix since they were young, but there have been times recently where their friendship has been strained. Beatrix has a going-getting real estate agent mother and a more luxurious life style, and she has recently taken to thinking that Meg is a bit babyish. It doesn't help when quirky new girl, Hazel, moves to town and is invited to Beatrix's family party, where she doesn't make a good impression. Meg likes Hazel but knows too well that Hazel's acne, over-the-top fashion sense, and hippy, chicken raising mother are not going to endear her to Beatrix. Meg tries to avoid Hazel, but gets assigned to work on a project with her in the science elective that Meg chose rather than the dance class Beatrix wanted her to take. Meg wants to choose a cute mammal to study, but Hazel tells the teacher they want to study bees. Meg has a lot of anxiety, and such a fear of bees that she will occasionally pass out when exposed to them. The two try to get along, and Meg tries to keep the peace with Beatrix. This becomes impossible when Beatrix's mother goes to the town council to get them to ban Hazel's bees, and Meg feels it is more important to fight for her new friend than to give in to the demands of her old one. Strengths: Losing at least one friend. This is definitely what the middle school experience is like, and the tension between Meg and Beatrix is spot on. While we see moments where their original connection is on display, such as when they are walking dogs for neighbors, we also see a lot of times where Beatrix wants Meg to be somebody else. Hazel is that middle school student who feels it is more important to be herself than to blend in with the crowd, but Meg knows that blending in is a much more comfortable way to go. Beatrix is, of course, that person who sets the standards and MAKES everyone follow her. The inclusion of bees, as well as a light touch of dealing with anxiety, add a couple of more levels of interest to this solid middle grade novel.Weaknesses: I know the trend is to encourage students to "be themselves", but really, that's about the worst advice anyone could have given ME when I was in middle school. Hazel is a bit over the top.What I really think: Definitely purchasing, and I appreciated that it tackled serious middle school issues while still remaining a fairly happy and upbeat read. Add this to Honeybees and Frenemies as a book that addresses social AND environmental concerns.
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  • Shari
    January 1, 1970
    I am so excited to share this fabulous book with kids! I had a few middle school flashbacks of my own while reading, and WOW, Gillian McDunn gets it exactly right!The Queen Bee and Me explores the minefield of middle school friendships as loyalties are tested, fears are faced, and sides are chosen. Anxious Meg has always found security and safety in her best-friendship with confident Beatrix. But as Meg begins to discover her own interests, she learns how difficult it might be to stand up to I am so excited to share this fabulous book with kids! I had a few middle school flashbacks of my own while reading, and WOW, Gillian McDunn gets it exactly right!The Queen Bee and Me explores the minefield of middle school friendships as loyalties are tested, fears are faced, and sides are chosen. Anxious Meg has always found security and safety in her best-friendship with confident Beatrix. But as Meg begins to discover her own interests, she learns how difficult it might be to stand up to Beatrix. Then Hazel moves in - and she has delightful Stargirl vibes - and Beatrix really shows her mean side. Can Meg face her fears and find her voice to stand up for what she thinks is right, or will she do what she must to keep the peace between them? The female relationships in this book are powerful and real - between Meg and her mom, especially, but the other mother-daughter relationships, the female friendships, both tween and adult, and even Meg’s relationship with her science teacher, whom she admires. Yet this book is not just for girls - this is a terrific insight into the experiences of many kids this age. Without risking any more spoilers, let me just encourage you to read this book when it releases March 3, 2020! It is as fascinating as it is familiar to those who have survived the sting of middle school friendships!Thank you to the author and Bloomsbury Kids for sharing this ARC with me and #BookSojourn.
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  • Lisa Swope
    January 1, 1970
    Ask better questions, get better answers.Fear can stand for False Evidence Appearing Real. It also can be your chance to Face Everything and Rise. For example, Meg's best-friendship-since-kindergarten with Beatrix is lovely and comfortable as long as Meg agrees with Beatrix all the time so Beatrix doesn't freeze Meg out. (I can't be the only one who, based strictly on name and spelling choices, word associates with Bellatrix Lestrange and Meg Murry, later O'Keefe, right?) When Meg takes up Ask better questions, get better answers.Fear can stand for False Evidence Appearing Real.  It also can be your chance to Face Everything and Rise.  For example, Meg's best-friendship-since-kindergarten with Beatrix is lovely and comfortable as long as Meg agrees with Beatrix all the time so Beatrix doesn't freeze Meg out.  (I can't be the only one who, based strictly on name and spelling choices, word associates with Bellatrix Lestrange and Meg Murry, later O'Keefe, right?) When Meg takes up science elective, her true passion, and gets partnered with Hazel, the new girl, who has a backyard beehive, things get interesting. This week I was supposed to be headed to church camp with a small group from my NC church, meeting up with a large group from my previous church in PA.  As it happens, I'm not (Life!), but in the two previous years I've gone I've seen these kids really step up to welcome new people and widen their circles to include others, support people through tough times, and take on the mantle of leadership from a surprisingly young age.  That doesn't happen by accident. That requires good mentorship and support by the adults in their lives. It's building a culture of growth. And sometimes it means the willingness of the adults to let the kids try and fail, and learn from it so they get back up. And next time they can do it better..
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  • Katie Reilley
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to the author and publisher for sharing an advanced copy with our #bookexpedition group! Meg’s been best friends with Beatrix since kindergarten, and she’s always found comfort letting Beatrix be the queen bee. Now that they’re in middle school, Meg’s ready to spread her wings and try a special science elective class that she was invited to, and Beatrix isn’t ready for Meg to leave her sidekick role behind. Enter the new girl, Hazel, who also has a mind for science, and who becomes the Thanks to the author and publisher for sharing an advanced copy with our #bookexpedition group! Meg’s been best friends with Beatrix since kindergarten, and she’s always found comfort letting Beatrix be the queen bee. Now that they’re in middle school, Meg’s ready to spread her wings and try a special science elective class that she was invited to, and Beatrix isn’t ready for Meg to leave her sidekick role behind. Enter the new girl, Hazel, who also has a mind for science, and who becomes the target of Beatrix’s cruelty due to her jealousy and insecurities. Lots to enjoy about this MG novel. As a 5th classroom teacher, it was easy to relate to many of the friendship dynamics played out not only by Beatrix, Meg and Hazel, but also by the bystanding secondary characters. Also really enjoyed the informational aspect of learning about bees and their importance to us. Mostly, though, I loved how this novel was about Meg’s journey of finding out what’s most important and recognizing her own inner queen.Publishes March 3, 2020 and I can’t wait to add it to my classroom library.
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  • Michelle Leonard
    January 1, 1970
    In this beautiful story about the trials of middle grade, Meg learns to advocate for herself and the quirky new girl Hazel when she finally realizes how mean her queen bee BFF Beatrix is. Lots of important situations to reflect on in this story that are just as true in our adult relationships. Is it worth it to lose who we are for the sake of an keeping an unhealthy friendship alive? Is it better to have no friends than to play sidekick to a bully? Also loved all the information about bees that In this beautiful story about the trials of middle grade, Meg learns to advocate for herself and the quirky new girl Hazel when she finally realizes how mean her queen bee BFF Beatrix is. Lots of important situations to reflect on in this story that are just as true in our adult relationships. Is it worth it to lose who we are for the sake of an keeping an unhealthy friendship alive? Is it better to have no friends than to play sidekick to a bully? Also loved all the information about bees 🐝 that’s incorporated in this story about learning to use your voice to stand up for what’s right! Great for fans of @kristiwientge’s books! Definitely put this March 3, 2020 release on your radar. An important book for upper elementary and middle school.
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  • Bonnie Grover
    January 1, 1970
    “Middle school is a moment. Figuring out who you are is hard.” Gillian McDunn has captured the dynamics of mid school perfectly. How do you keep your best friend from freezing you out? And how do you overlook unkind things that you don’t agree with in order to keep a friend? Meg has to navigate her way through some tough questions. “A friend should never make you feel like you have to prove yourself. The very most important kind of loyalty is when you manage to be loyal to yourself.” I know a “Middle school is a moment. Figuring out who you are is hard.” Gillian McDunn has captured the dynamics of mid school perfectly. How do you keep your best friend from freezing you out? And how do you overlook unkind things that you don’t agree with in order to keep a friend? Meg has to navigate her way through some tough questions. “A friend should never make you feel like you have to prove yourself. The very most important kind of loyalty is when you manage to be loyal to yourself.” I know a lot about Queen Bees, but I learned a lot about honey bees and super organisms while reading this book and I’m certainly going to share it with my students.
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  • Jennifer Hill
    January 1, 1970
    Meg and Beatrix have been BFF's since Kindergarten. Meg has always taken dance for her elective because Beatrix LOVES dance and wants Meg to be with her. During 7th grade Meg gets chosen to be a part of a Science Elective, which is her FAVORITE. She is scared to tell Beatrix, because she doesn't want to be "frozen out". Also a new girl moves to their neighborhood, who also will be taking the science elective. Hazel dresses weird, has severe acne, and is a little eccentric, but is really nice. Meg and Beatrix have been BFF's since Kindergarten. Meg has always taken dance for her elective because Beatrix LOVES dance and wants Meg to be with her. During 7th grade Meg gets chosen to be a part of a Science Elective, which is her FAVORITE. She is scared to tell Beatrix, because she doesn't want to be "frozen out". Also a new girl moves to their neighborhood, who also will be taking the science elective. Hazel dresses weird, has severe acne, and is a little eccentric, but is really nice. Meg debates between being friends with her or keeping her friendship with Beatrix by shunning Hazel. Drama ensues!
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    This book immediately transported me right back to middle school, when relationships shift as kids start to grow into the adults they will become. Gillian is so gifted at digging into the emotional details and feelings of these ages - the characters feel so real and so true. I cheered along at the growth of all of the characters - girls and moms! - through their journey in this book. This book is about being a good friend, standing up for what’s right, and being true to yourself. These are all This book immediately transported me right back to middle school, when relationships shift as kids start to grow into the adults they will become. Gillian is so gifted at digging into the emotional details and feelings of these ages - the characters feel so real and so true. I cheered along at the growth of all of the characters - girls and moms! - through their journey in this book. This book is about being a good friend, standing up for what’s right, and being true to yourself. These are all themes I discuss with my kids and I can’t wait for them to read this book.
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  • Cassie Thomas
    January 1, 1970
    I fell in love with Meg’s character, and even more Hazel’s. I felt such a connection to the way she felt about Beatrix, trying to be something she wasn’t just to keep the friendship afloat. So much of my own middle school experience was JUST that - following the “queen bee” even when I didn’t really want to. I loved how Meg found who she was and how in the end being proud of yourself trumps everything. SO good. Highly recommend for 4th and up.Themes: friendship, being yourself, pride, and I fell in love with Meg’s character, and even more Hazel’s. I felt such a connection to the way she felt about Beatrix, trying to be something she wasn’t just to keep the friendship afloat. So much of my own middle school experience was JUST that - following the “queen bee” even when I didn’t really want to. I loved how Meg found who she was and how in the end being proud of yourself trumps everything. SO good. Highly recommend for 4th and up.Themes: friendship, being yourself, pride, and honesty.
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  • Rajani LaRocca
    January 1, 1970
    This beautiful book perfectly captures the ups and downs of middle grade friendship. "A best friend is the door to a whole world"...but what happens when your best friend since forever acts in ways that hurt you and others? This is what the main character Meg has to navigate in her friendship with Beatrix. When a new, "odd" girl moves to their small town and Beatrix immediately dislikes her, how does Meg balance that against the person she wants to be? Paired with information about bees, the This beautiful book perfectly captures the ups and downs of middle grade friendship. "A best friend is the door to a whole world"...but what happens when your best friend since forever acts in ways that hurt you and others? This is what the main character Meg has to navigate in her friendship with Beatrix. When a new, "odd" girl moves to their small town and Beatrix immediately dislikes her, how does Meg balance that against the person she wants to be? Paired with information about bees, the topic of a research project in school, this book is a wonderful, nuanced middle grade read.
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  • Aimee Lucido
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book! Toxic friendships are such an important part of middle school and they don't get enough air time in books, at least not where the message is "it's OK to not be friends anymore" which is what THE QUEEN BEE AND ME does. I thought the metaphor between the literal beehive and the figurative one was smart and well done, and I loved how carefully the characters and their interactions were constructed. Fantastic book!
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  • Lorie Barber
    January 1, 1970
    A beautifully tender story about friendship and all its complexities. So many kids will really feel this one. Loved the perfectly imperfect mom/daughter relationship and learning about how Meg’s anxiety affects her life. The bee science was a pleasant surprise and told on a way that was informative and really fun. Will add The Queen Bee and Me to my class library when it publishes in March. Thank you to Bloomsbury for sharing this ARC with our reading group.
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  • Anne-Marie
    January 1, 1970
    The Queen Bee and Me is a delightful read and deals deftly with girls' social dynamics. The characters are lively and engaging, and the Queen Bee's mom is delightfully nasty. The characters are passionate about their interests and their friendships. I especially appreciated the complex view of the Queen Bee through the long-time best-friendship with the protagonist. I also love how McDunn organically weaves in a science project on bees.
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  • Raina Velasquez
    January 1, 1970
    It is all about drama and I can relate to some things. I would recommend this book for middle school girls.FWI this book is going to be published on March 3, 2020(I am the first middle schooler to read this book if you are wondering)
  • Britt
    January 1, 1970
    Read and reviewed for School Library Journal.
  • Mariama J.
    January 1, 1970
    McDunn has done it again! This is a beautiful, relatable story about what happens when friendships shift. I loved watching Meg find her voice & courage. I highly recommend this book.
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