The Queen's Shadow

The Queen's Shadow

A Story About How Animals See

Book - 2015
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In this informational picture book, award-winning author and illustrator Cybèle Young interweaves the science of animal eyesight into a clever whodunit involving a haughty queen. It is during the Queen's Ball, at which ?society's most important nobility? are in attendance (all of whom are animals), that a ?major crime has been committed?: the queen's shadow has been stolen! Mantis Shrimp, the Royal Detective, takes the lead in the investigation to find the perpetrator, and one by one the animal suspects defend their innocence. From a shark and a snake to a dragonfly and a goat, each creature's testimony explains their version of the scene of the crime based on their own unique eyesight, while the finely textured and detailed artwork illustrates the ballroom as viewed by that animal.

In sidebars to the story, the author provides factual information about how the eyesight of each animal works, and why. As each animal's perspective sheds new light on the mystery, it becomes clear to children that there are many different ways to see what goes on in the world. A section on how human vision works, background on each of the animals mentioned in the story and a glossary are provided at the back of the book. This is a unique and sophisticated book unlike any other. It would be an excellent resource for life science lessons on animal and human characteristics. The sly humor, engaging storytelling and layered narrative also make it a terrific mystery read.
Publisher: Toronto, Ontario :, Kids Can Press,, 2015, ©2015.
ISBN: 9781894786607
Branch Call Number: J 573. 88 YOU
Characteristics: 40 unnumbered pages : colour illustrations ; 24 x 29 cm.


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Jun 03, 2015

SUMMARY: The queen is having a party with her royal friends when the lights go out. Once the lights are back on, she discovers that her shadow is missing. Mantis Shrimp, the Royal Detective steps forward to solve the case. One by one he questions the animals present. Each animal proves himself innocent based on the use of his vision. Finally, the case is solved and the queen is reunited with ther shadow.

ILLUSTRATIONS: Cybele Young has proven her genius again through unique illustrations. These were created in pen and ink and digitally rendered. Each two page spread is lavishly colored and detailed. The animals at times look like paper cut outs and do not have much movement to them.

THE GOOD: This was a fun way to learn about how animals see. The mystery of the story was irresistible. There is a side note, after each animal speaks, about something unique in the way that animal's vision works. There is more information in the back of the book about how vision happens and about the animals as well as a glossary.
THE NOT AS GOOD: This story uses a pretty large vocabulary making it less accessible to younger children and the book is somewhat lengthy for a read-a-loud.

AGE RECOMMENDATION: Grades 2 (upper level students) through 5

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