“Cate and the Garden Bandits” by Betsy Coffeen

“Cate and the Garden Bandits” by Betsy Coffeen 1000 1000 Reader Views Kids

Cate and the Garden Bandits

Betsy Coffeen
Story Monsters Press (2023)
ISBN 978-1589852488
Reviewed by Jill Rey for Reader Views (07/2023)

Cate is a beautiful butterfly asleep in her garden.  Cate and her best friends Pete Potato Bug, Davey Dung Beetle, and Walter the Earthworm have watered their magical garden daily and given the plants lots of love.  Yet, the flowers are still losing their petals and they just don’t know why.

One day Cate is abruptly awoken by a buzzing noise.  As she tries to find the source of the sound she is led to the base of a tall tree.  It’s here she finds a bumblebee with a trail of flower petals…her garden’s flower petals.  Following the petals she comes upon an amazing discovery, making a new friend in the process.

Full of knowledge and educational insights, young readers will learn all about bumblebees, their larva, and their queen.  From vocabulary breakdowns to understanding drones as being male bumblebees, and much more.  The knowledge gained through “Cate and the Garden Bandits” will have lasting effects as readers see the outdoors and their personal gardens in a whole new light.  Each creature has a unique and important role in the magic garden and author Betsy Coffeen uses her quick and imaginative read to embrace just a few of nature’s roles.

Accompanying Coffeen’s brilliant story are the bright and captivating illustrations of Ginger Seehafer.  The pictures do an incredible job of capturing the vivid color and brilliance of the outdoors.  From the bright greens to the detailed bumblebees, kids’ imaginations light up through the accompanying illustration. I loved the emotions the illustrator, Ginger Seehafer, incorporated on the characters’ faces as Cate oscillates from being startled to surprise, inquisitive, and finally happy.  It isn’t hard to delineate between the queen bee and the old bumblebee flying away with petals. From the browns, yellows, blues, reds, greens, and all the colors in between, every page is a pop of excitement in the overall story and lessons to be learned.

Thieves become friends, and gardens become a place of wonder as Coffeen and Seehafer create an educational adventure across the pages. Kids, adults, and teachers alike will have fun following the mystery of the missing flower petals as Cate finds the thief.

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