Score: 95+/100 (9.5+ out of 10)
Cate and the Garden Bandits is is colorful, fun, and visually-stunning children's book filled with adorable, charismatic bug characters and a meaningful message about putting aside our differences and working together for the common good.
We'd expect nothing less from a book published by Story Monsters, one of the most prolific and successful publishers to grace our contest. They've garnered quite a reputation!
Cate and the Garden Bandits stands out as one of the best and most well-rounded children's books we've read. The writing is solid. The concept is solid. The illustrations are superb. The characters are adorable. The message is meaningful and resonates well with kids.
So, what is this book about? Well, this book follows Cate, a beautiful blue butterfly who lives and works in a “magical garden” full of flowers, plants, and other friendly bugs like Pete the Potato Bug, Davey the Dung Beetle, and Walter the Earthworm. The peace of the garden is disturbed when a mysterious new type of bug buzzes its way through, causing Cate to tumble off of her leaf. Soon, hundreds of flower petals in the garden go missing, and that mysterious bug appears to be the culprit.
Trying to make things right, Cate confronts the bug (a bumblebee) who sports an eye patch and looks rather intimidating. Cate attempts to start conversation with the bug and to tell them to stop taking the flower petals, but the bumblebee gets cold feet and flies away.
Cate pursues the bumblebee, finding most of the missing flower petals leading to a hive in the process. The bees confront Cate, treating her with a mixture of suspicion and fear. Rather than harming her, the bumblebees decide to show Cate what they've been up to. They show her their babies and explain to her that they need nectar from the flowers to produce honey for their babies. In return, they pollinate the flowers which causes them to grow and prosper.
This is an eye-opening experience for Cate, and soon after for the other bugs. The garden bugs and the bumblebees are able to work together to ensure their mutually beneficial situations.
This is such a great book!
Check it out on Amazon!