Arts and Entertainment

Children’s book creates buzz more than 40 years later

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A children’s book nearly 50 years old made its way to print this summer.


Retired elementary educator Jackie Green recently revisited the book “The Queen and I,” which she collaborated on with best friend Bea Prior McMahon in the summer of 1965.


McMahon, a former teacher and banker, wrote the book after hearing her son Brien Jr. ask what would his life be like if he were a bee.


From there the friends crafted the book on a day in the life of a bee with a queen as a tour guide.


Green said the purpose of the book was to teach children the nature and significance of honeybees.

“The use of verse was for enjoyment as well as helping with reading skills,” she said.


The friends took the book to two publishers but were turned down and didn’t receive any feedback on how to improve it. They chose not to resubmit the book.


“The Queen and I” took a backseat for a while as both women became grandparents – Green with five and McMahon with 16.


The pair remained friends through McMahon’s death in 2002 after she battled pancreatic cancer for four years.


Recently Green and McMahon’s husband Brien decided to self-publish the manuscript in her honor.


With help from Linda Perry at In Graphic Detail, Green’s illustrations were recolored after some of the images’ backgrounds became discolored over the years.


Since printing, Green said McMahon’s family in New York has been excited for this to take place.


“Writing this book echoed for her family her lesson that they can do anything they set their minds to,” Green said.


She said the book is for children learning to read and people who like to read about nature and bees.


“The Queen and I” is available at Pacific Mist Books, Sunny Farms, Nash’s Farm Store and Wild Birds Unlimited in Sequim, and Odyssey Books, Port Book and News and Olympic Stationers in Port Angeles, and both Sequim and Port Angeles libraries.


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