The Queen’s Shadow is a picture book created for children between the ages of 7 and 11. The book is a mystery laced with educational value. The story begins when the Queen hosts a ball with various animals in attendance. During the ball she loses her shadow. Coming to her aid, the Mantis Shrimp plays detective, interrogating the other animals in attendance to determine who may have stolen the Queen’s shadow. Each animal uses their sight as as a defense to prove themselves innocent. This allows readers to discover facts about how each animal sees. After the resolution the author and illustrator, Cybèle Young, provides more educational value on how each animal’s eyes work and how the human eye works.
First, I think it’s a great concept to use story and weave in educational facts around it. When learning can be achieved in a painless way, it’s a happy day for everyone. I enjoyed the balance of grey and black as well as the use of color in the illustrations. I found the visually interesting.
However, I have a few observations that I think worked against the author’s goal to educate.
I agree with the narrator that the book is sophisticated. I just wonder if it is too sophisticated for its audience.
There are absolutely ways to use this book educationally, but it will take a little effort on your part to put the elements and ideas together to truly get the most out of it. I believe that, as a stand alone book to be used as a quick or casual read, this book is just too heavy and asks too much of young readers. I’m really torn on how to rate it because I see potential, however, I don’t feel the author gave us her best or knew her audience as well as she could have. If I have to work to make a book usable, I’m going to give a lower rating.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of The Queen’s Shadow: A Story About How Animals See from Kids Can Press via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
I give this book three stars
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