This Talmudic tale is adapted from the writings of the Jewish poet, Hayyim Nahman Bialik, who wrote And It Came to Pass, a collection of folkloric or invented legends involving King David and King Solomon. No matter what the official origins, this tale quickly reveals King Solomon in all his wisdom with a little bit of help from a small friend, of course. A young bee has had the great misfortune of stinging the nose of King Solomon by accident. The bee acknowledges his error, apologizes and then argues that instead of punishment, the bee will one day repay the favor of the king’s benevolence. King Solomon is so amazed at the little creature’s confidence and courage that he forgives him. Soon the Queen of Sheba arrives at Solomon’s court intent on testing the famous king’s wisdom. After the King has answered numerous questions, Sheba perplexes him with stunning flower bouquets, only one of which is real. Solomon is baffled until he hears a slight buzz and the little bee flies in the window and lands inconspicuously on the real bouquet. King Solomon’s fame as the wisest is intact and the King’s benevolence is repaid. This simple story guides young children to realize that size and status are not as important as one’s courage and sense of honor. The book can be easily incorporated into numerous lessons plans featuring the values of fairness and justice across multiple age levels. Heller’s illustrations are vibrant and exacting: enhancing the visual texture of the story. The decision by Crocodile Books to re-issue King Solomon and the Bee in a paperback edition is greatly welcomed. Educators and parents will be grateful for its return to the library shelves, allowing this treasure to be more widely shared with young readers. For ages 5 – 8.
Christine Maasdam holds a Masters in Humanities, certifications in Museum Studies and Cultural Property Protection. She is currently completing her M.L.I.S. Her interests are philosophy and the impact of art and technology on culture.