________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 36. . . .May 20, 2011


The Queen of France.

Tim Wadham. Illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton.
Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press (Distributed in Canada by Random House of Canada), 2011.
32pp., hardcover, $19.00.
ISBN 978-0-7636-4102-3.

Subject Headings:
Parent and child-Fiction.

Preschool-grade 1/ Ages 3-6.

Review by Megan Sorenson.

***1/2 /4



When Rose woke up that morning, she felt royal.

She opened the box of jewelry.
She put on the necklaces.
She put on the bracelets.

She went to the make-believe basket.
She put on the crown.

The Queen of France went to find Rose’s mother.


The Queen of France, a sweet and playful story, follows the wonderfully imaginative Rose as she tries on the character of the Queen of France for a day. Amusingly, this is not a one-time transformation; instead, Rose switches back and forth between her two identities, to the entertainment of all. Wadham’s text is full of humour, and children will enjoy being in on the joke as Rose and the queen keep mysteriously missing one another. Although a few of the dialogue passages seem a bit lengthy, the text lends itself well to being read aloud as readers can have fun adopting different voices for Rose and her royal counterpart.

      One of the loveliest aspects of the story is Wadham’s portrayal of Rose’s mother and father who are quick to enter into their daughter’s fiction. In fact, they provide a model of how parents can effectively encourage and foster their child’s imagination through love, affirmation, and cooperative play. The story manages to avoid over the top sweetness by ending as whimsically as it began: after a day of being royal, Rose starts feeling “scary,” and it is clear that her imagination will take her on many more adventures in the future.

internal art     Kady MacDonald Denton’s illustrations in ink, watercolour, and gouache are entertaining and appealing. The format of the images varies considerably across the book; there are a number of full and double page spreads, and MacDonald Denton also uses sequences of spot illustrations to great effect. Her colourful scenes contain many small details for readers to explore, such as the different borders that she creates to distinguish between Rose and the Queen of France. In the tradition of Jillian Jiggs, Rose has a room strewn with the evidence of other imaginative games. McDonald Denton frequently depicts the overflowing contents of the make-believe basket, revealing that Rose’s repertoire also includes pirates, witches, cowboys, and butterflies. It is encouraging to see that this selection extends beyond stereotypical “girl” costumes.

     Most notable, however, is MacDonald Denton’s knack for bringing each character to life with inimitable facial expressions and poses. Her illustrations masterfully capture Rose’s transformation, perfectly expressing the grace and dignity that the queen feels as she flounces off on royal business.

      Both the text and images of The Queen of France communicate the comfort and security of a loving home, and this book will certainly provide a cozy lap story for parents and children.

Highly Recommended.

Megan Sorenson is an MLIS student at the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies in Vancouver, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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