Score: 94/100 (9.4 out of 10)
What a pleasant little surprise!
Digger the Colony Worker Ant by Christina Kueng is a creative and fun take on the classic Cinderella story. It features ants in place of humans and mean step-brothers in place of wicked step-sisters.
The book follows Digger, the Cinderella-like-figure in this situation, who is the mistreated step-son/step brother in his household. He does all of the chores and takes all of the blame and punishment when things don't look or go right. His evil step-mother is Shantelle, who favors her sons and exploits Digger for labor. Likewise, his step-brothers, Dante and Grant, make his life miserable. Dante even threatens to “pummel” (beat) Digger, implying that they are physically abusive as well as psychologically/emotionally abusive to poor Digger.
It just so happens that the queen of the ant colony, Queen Lantina, is retiring, leaving the kingdom to her beautiful daughter, Princess Antilles. She puts Princess Antilles on a quest to find a suitable husband to help her to run the kingdom, although hilariously, she specifically requests that he be “handsome.”
As you might expect, the Princess holds a royal ball and invites members of the kingdom to attempt. Digger's abusive step-family refuses to let him attend, saying that he smells and is ugly. A fairy godmother in the shape of a magical ladybug visits Digger and gives him the opportunity of a lifetime.
In an interesting twist, rather than transforming Digger into a graceful and proper prince, she transforms him into a super cool biker complete with a black leather jacket, sunglasses, and a motorbike!
Princess Antilles is smitten by how different Digger is from all of the other male ants, most of whom are boring and similar. As you might expect, Digger runs out of time and leaves behind one of his shoes with which the princess tries to find and identify him.
The book has a very bright, inviting, and appealing aesthetic quality. That is owed to the wonderful work by illustrator Nana Melkadze. The characters all come to life on the page, complete with wrinkles to show age (as in the case of the queen), clothes, and facial expressions.
Shantelle, the evil stepmom, is portrayed with an excess of makeup and huge lips, showing her artificiality/superficiality. She always has her purse with her, showing that money is what matters to her. Princess Antilles is beautiful and inviting, well, for an ant. She is dressed in a sparkling bright-purple dress and tiara.
Digger goes from being a downridden character, crying and sweating, to being the coolest cat in town.
Check this out on Amazon!