A touching and beautifully illustrated story about a bee and the man who loves him.

Title: Ben
Author: Miba & Josh Prigge
Illustrator: Miba
Rating: 8
Readability: 8
Source:
From authors for honest review

Description from Amazon:

One day in the early spring, an old man finds a struggling bee on the road.

Staring at the bee brings back memories. He feels compelled to do something. He reaches into his pocket, takes out an old napkin and bends down.

Award winning picture book creators Larv & Mib (Josh Prigge & Minha Park) present their fourth title, Ben, a beautifully illustrated picture book that shows the thoughts of an old man and his relationship with a newly found companion.

The story of Ben originated in 2005. One day, just as signs of spring were appearing, Josh noticed a bee on the road near some melting snow. As he bent down to have a closer look, he realized it was moving very slowly. He wanted to save the bee and help it survive until the spring came.

As the years passed, the story of the bee remained in his mind. He wasn’t sure how the story would go until he met Miba and her grandmother. In the winter of 2013, her grandmother collapsed and has been in the hospital ever since. After many visits, the bee idea started to make more sense. Josh told Miba about the idea. They developed it together and came up with the story of Ben.

What I Thought:

Okay first of all when I got a request to review a book from Korea I felt pretty darn fancy, haha. It was so exciting to get this book in the mail!

Ben is beautifully illustrated with soft water colours and is presented in an interesting comic book style.

Thanks to the authors’ note at the end of the book, and an illustration within it, it is revealed that the old man had a child who passed away. Reading the book a second time after realizing this gives the story an entirely new meaning.  The line “I wanted to do everything for him until I was no longer able” has so much more behind it than is revealed during the first read through.

The old man treats the bee almost as his own child, taking it everywhere with him, teaching it things, building a jungle gym, reading books together. It is a quite sad story, but it also gives hope at the end, when spring arrives.

This would be perfect for anyone wanting to teach their child Korean, as it has the Korean text on one side of the page and the English translation on the other. The words are simple, which would also make it a great tool.

My daughter loved reading it, even though I don’t think she quite understood the story in the same way that I did. She was concerned when the old man was drowning, but it opened up a good opportunity for a discussion about death. We had a great talk. Loved this book.

Extras:

Find Miba and Josh Prigge’s website and more of their wonderful books here at Woodpark Picture Books.

TL;DR:

Man meets bee. Bee and man love each other. Despite difficulties, they live (hopefully) happily ever after.