This is a touching story about loss, love, hope, survival and friendship.
One day in early spring, while ice is still covering the ground, an old man finds an injured bee in need of warmth. The old man takes the bee back to his home and creates a sanctuary for it. Through the illustrations and the note from the authors we learn that this old man lost his child a long time ago and upon seeing the bee, sees his child in the bee. The old man dreams of drowning, waking up in a cold sweat. He cares for the bee like a child and the two form a loving friendship.
The old man falls ill and is moved a hospital, leaving the bee all alone. They miss each other. A friend brings the old man a plant, along with the bee, from the old man's home to his bedside. As they are reunited the images of frost covered grounds finally brighten. Spring has arrived.
This is a heavy book that can be interpreted in numerous ways thanks to its sparse text and brilliant use of imagery. 'Ben' provokes thought and use of imagination about the transformative power of love. It shows us how caring and kindness can lead to meaningful relationships of all shapes and sizes. The images evoke strong emotions, changing from the perspective of the old man, to the bee's perspective, to the perspective of an observer.
The authors, Josh Prigge and Minha Park, create stories to evoke hope and inspiration in an audience of all ages. They have certainly succeeded in this mission with 'Ben.'
Miba and Josh live and work out of South Korea and will be in the states this summer. 'Ben' is written in both Korean and English and was kindly provided to us by the authors. Learn more about the authors here.