When their father’s business fails, Eliza and Jonty Kane move to a tenement flat in Dublin city, number 16 Henrietta Street. From a crowded tenement to the dazzling world of the circus – can dreams really come true? A tale of bravery, adventure and bee charming!
When Eliza Kane and her brother Jonty move from the leafy suburbs of Rathmines to a tenement flat on Henrietta Street they are in for a shock. Pigs and ponies in the yard, rats in the hallways and cockroaches or ‘clocks’ underfoot!
When they meet their new neighbour, Annie, a kind and practical teenager and her brothers, and a travelling circus comes to town, offering them both jobs, helping Madam Ada, the bee charmer, and Albert the dog trainer, things start to look up.
When a tragedy happens in the tenements, Eliza, Jonty and their new friends spring into action.
A tale of family, friendship and finding a new home, with touch of magical bees!
The Little Bee Charmer of Henrietta Street is another wonderful children’s book by Sarah Webb. In it she vividly brings to life all the hardship of Dublin’s teeming, overcrowded tenements, where young artist Eliza and her bother Jonty move to, following the downturn of their father’s fortunes.
However despite the searing poverty all about them Eliza soon discovers true friendship as she gets to know her new neighbour Annie. The arrival of Wilde’s Circus brings excitement and colour to the drab city streets and Eliza soon finds herself not only caught up in circus life but learning all about bees and the magic of how to how to charm them from the mysterious Madam Ada.
I loved this book! I was bowled over by the huge amount of research that has gone into telling Eliza’s story. Eliza’s courage and kindness shine out on every page in this brilliantly researched and exciting novel by one of Ireland’s finest writers.
This captivating story will touch the hearts of all young readers.
This is such a beautiful book and I enjoyed every single page. It’s sad, uplifting, warm and sweet. Sarah tackles difficult subjects in a gentle, sensitive way. Eliza is a great heroine, and her world of Henrietta Street and the circus will linger with me for a long time.
A story of family, friendship and never giving up, the strands of this book (the hardship of tenement life, the traveling circus and the unique world of bees) roll together, with young Eliza as the pivotal axis, a sort of “Big Top” … The careful research into every aspect of the tale slips in easily, painting a clear and vibrant landscape of the times. For every glimpse of hardship and tragedy, there are sparkles of resourcefulness, joy and the kind of magic that can be found even in the worst circumstances … It is interesting to note how the bees part of the story echo the events of the plot, with the inclusion of “bee facts” as the heading of each chapter. Their quite dramatic, busy lives create a backdrop to the upcoming action. The bees work together for the good of the hive, and this is both example and shadow of the people of the tenements; how they support each other, regardless of their individual circumstances. (An example to us all….for all time really.) This is a gentle, wonderful book, giving young readers (9-12) a glimpse of tenement life in early 1900s Dublin (an issue often overlooked, but that still has impact today.) Filled with heartbreak, quiet determination, kindness and triumph….and bees. Charming and uplifting.
Dublin-set historical fiction from the wonderfully versatile Sarah Webb & a timely look at poor housing conditions in the city, among other things. Webb draws on a variety of her passions - art & art history, animals & environmentalism, the early 20th c, strong girls & women … There are echoes here of Siobhan Parkinson's Amelia novels from the early 90s, & Anna Carey's recent The Boldness of Betty; this too zooms in on personal stories over the Big Historical Events … the historical details are woven in lightly but skilfully (I was reminded also of Judi Curtin in this regard) … Historical fiction is really really really REALLY hard & it's done well here - I tip my hat
a great read that mixes adventure and facts perfectly. It's going to be a stunner
Also by Sarah Webb:
Also by Rachel Corcoran: