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#BookReview: The Bees – Down in the Garden by DC Swain & Anna Bonita #MPBooks

The Bees Down in the Garden book coverTitle: The Bees (Down in the Garden book 1)

Author: DC Swain

Illustrator: Anna Bonita

Publisher: Cambridge Town Press

Genre: Children’s picture book

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Description:  Down in the garden beyond the apple trees,
is a fading blue hive, full of busy bees…
Join the bees down in the garden on a day of fun, danger and adventure in this beautifully illustrated picture book.
With a whimsical story and crisp, original illustrations, this is a story your children will want to read again and again.

My Review:  This book I a bit of a disappointment despite the cute illustrations. The picture book (I got the digital version to look at) is easy to read with a fun story of what bees do. There’s one page of text, which contains one rhyme, followed by a page with an illustration. The story is a quick read and tells the story of a day in the life of some bees.

The first pages introduce us to the faded blue hive at the back of the garden and all the bees that are inside and waking up for their day. They go off to find something to eat before collecting pollen and coming home for the night. The story doesn’t have much happening with the bees, the most exciting part was when a dog gets nearby the hive and they scare him away with buzzing. It didn’t really feel like much of a story at all, but despite this I still thought it was an okay book for the general life of bees. I wanted to like the book a lot more, especially as rhyming books are always great for kids, but this one failed to rhyme very well and it’s this that really led to the disappointment.

The rhymes are decent, and there’s a few which are good, but many didn’t flow as well as I expected and I kept having to read some rhymes again after just reading them as it didn’t seem right to me. Some of the rhymes use too many syllables in the second half which makes reading aloud hard. You get into a rhythm when reading books that rhyme and extra random syllables destroy that rhythm and pace. Other sentences didn’t rhyme at all, such as ‘An excited hum, the hive has been saved, a quick snack of nectar and they’re back on their way’ – the words ‘saved’ and ‘way’ don’t rhyme which felt confusing and I’m not sure kids will enjoy this break in the rhyming pattern either. I might be a bit over picky about the rhyming, being someone who finds it easy to write such poetry, but because this is a book aimed at children, especially young kids, it does annoy me when books aren’t so good as I can think of better words and sentences to use in this book myself.

The illustrations are what make this book cute. They all look like the picture on the front cover. I love the fun and very cute look of all the bees and I think the images really make this book better. Each bee looks very cute and there’s some fun images of bees stretching in the morning while walking on two legs and drinking nectar out of glasses. The illustrations are also quite simple, not too detailed but have a lot of colour and I love the expressions on all the bees faces.

It’s a shame about the story. It’s a good story but it could be a lot better. Some of the rhymes at the start are really good but they seem to become harder to read with that natural rhythm the further you read into the story. The illustrations make the story come alive more, but there’s just not enough of a tale to keep me interested, and it’s such a shame because I was hoping for more, especially as this is one of a series of books about creatures in the garden. It’s a book I’d read with very young children but I’m not sure slightly older kids will enjoy it so much.


Do you like books about bees or other garden creatures?  What about books that rhyme?  Let me know any thoughts you have, I’d love to hear from you 🙂

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