Can bees really thrive at the top of a Paris apartment building?

My neighbors raise bees, something I’ve always found fascinating, and of course Linda loves to see them in her extensive flower and vegetable gardens. So I was quick to grab the children’s book, Bees in the City, published by Tilbury House Publishers in Thomaston.

Written by Andrea Cheng, the daughter of Hungarian immigrants, who has been fascinated by bees her entire life, this wonderful book may cause you to rush out and get yourself a bee hive.

The story focuses on a young boy, Lionel, who lives in a Paris apartment and loves tending the honeybees at his Aunt’s farm outside the city. Alas, his Aunt’s bees start dying, and Lionel figures out that the solution is to bring the bees to Paris and put them up on the rooftop of his apartment building where there lots of window boxes with an array of flowers.

Lionel and his friends are challenged to win the support of everybody in their apartment building for his plan to stick bees up on the roof, and while initially there are some negative responses, the kids got everyone turned around and in support.

It’s a compelling story which your children or grandchildren will certainly enjoy. And I was also captivated by the wonderful illustrations by Sarah McMenemy of London, England who has illustrated several best-selling children’s books. Her art is even on display at railroad station platforms in London’s East End.

The end of the book includes a lot of great information about honeybees and urban beekeeping. Linda and I have been to Paris but I don’t recall seeing lots of beehives which are apparently all over the city. Perhaps a good reason to go back and check that out!




George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.