Being an orphan is never easy, but for Bee the strange birthmark on her face is an added burden. Fortunately, she has been able to stay on with the traveling circus that employed her parents before they died, helping Pauline run the hot dog stand. Just the same, Bee really wants what every child should have: a stable family living in a real home. For consolation, Bee clings to the circus piglets that run races and a mysterious lady in an orange hat who appears when Bee most needs a friend.

When Pauline leaves the circus with a new boyfriend, Bee sneaks away as well. Before long she stumbles upon a house that resembles the one she has always dreamt of. Who should happen to live there? The lady in the orange hat, Mrs. Potter, and her friend Mrs. Swift. They are quite eccentric, but the oddest thing about them is that no one but Bee can see them. These two elderly ladies take her in, but it is unclear as to who is caring for whom as they try to introduce Bee to a more normal life.

Bee has many things to learn about people, particularly other children. Confrontations with school bullies force her to assert herself, but also to learn compassion and understanding. She develops friendships with disabled students who teach her that love sees beyond physical appearance, that trust can be lost and regained, and that revenge always comes at a price.

The reading level of Beholding Bee makes this book ideal for reluctant readers in this age range. However, one aspect of Bee’s story may need explanation. Pauline returns to the circus with a baby, but no boyfriend, a detail unnecessary to the story and its message.

Jennifer Minicus is a mother and teacher living in Ridgewood, NJ.

Jennifer Minicus

Jennifer Minicus lives in New Jersey with her husband and son. A former French, Latin and mathematics teacher, Jennifer currently enjoys the responsibilities of a "domestic engineer", particularly making...