Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Review: The Queen’s Shadow

Publish March 13, 2015

In The Queen’s Shadow: A Story About How Animals See, award-winning author-illustrator Cybèle Young forays into the world of nonfiction with a picture book that studies vision across animal species. Under the watchful eyes of nobility, the Queen’s shadow has disappeared. Mantis Shrimp, the Royal Detective, begins his investigation, interrogating creatures like Captain Shark and Lancehead, the snake. In this visually striking mystery, each animal literally has a unique view on the matter, and a theory about who is responsible. Formal vocabulary and tone complement this prim and proper tale, and digitally-coloured pen and ink drawings add a vintage charm. Using both text and illustration, Young moves the investigation along, conveying how each implicated animal sees the world. For example, kids learn in a textbox that sharks cannot see colour, only contrast. Captain Shark recalls seeing a coiled snake on the patterned carpet – which Young illustrates in black and white – and thus accuses Lancehead of stealing the shadow. While clues are not in place to allow kids to solve the mystery, they will enjoy seeing the scene from multiple perspectives. After learning so much about the unique visual senses of other animals, kids will explore the anatomy of the human eye in the back matter. Young also includes non-vision related facts about the animals and a glossary of potentially unfamiliar scientific terms. The Queen’s Shadow is a visually majestic read that invites further exploration into the physics of light, the anatomy of the eye, and the complexity of senses in the animal kingdom.

The Queen’s Shadow

Cybele Young
Kids Can Press
ISBN 13: 978-1-894786-60-7

Jen Bailey
Jen Bailey Jen Bailey is an Ontario-certified teacher who holds an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She works for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Jen’s other book reviews have appeared in Quill & Quire and Canadian Children’s Book News.

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