The Queen of France by Tim Wadham

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Lynn: Cindy and I are painfully aware that our picture book posts are heavily weighted toward books that appeal to small boys.  Blame that on our all-male focus group who, despite my best efforts, have no interest in books with pink covers, feature princesses, gorgeous shoes or dancing.   I am also conditioned by years of being the only female in a testosterone-laden household and have a tendency to automatically veer toward books with bugs, dinosaurs, vehicles and rude noises.  We are doing our best to balance this injustice though and are actively seeking books that will appeal to a more feminine side.  Happily The Queen of France (Candlewick 2011) is an easy and delightful choice.

“When Rose woke up she felt royal.”  A quick raid on her make-believe basket yields jewelry, a pink tutu and a crown and voila’ – the Queen of France sallies forth.

“Hello, I am the Queen of France.  Have you seen Rose?’

‘No,’ said Rose’s mother.”

I wonder where she could be,’ said the Queen of France.”

Rose’s mother and father play along with affection and straight-faces.  Rose and the Queen of France take turns throughout the day experiencing rose-pricked fingers, a messy room and other adventures.  Eventually Rose decides being Rose is the best adventure of all – at least until tomorrow.  The ending scene showing what lies next in the make-believe basket is a delightful finish to a delightful book.

Kady MacDonald Denton’s soft pastel illustrations have just the right comedic touch for Rose’s royal expeditions and my pink-deprived soul loves the rose borders around the text.  A lovely book for little queens of any country!

Cindy:  I have a friend who has a bumper sticker proclaiming “Queen Without A Country!” She just needs a little of Rose’s imagination and she’d be all set! How can you not love a book with a girl who embraces her creativity and imagination so fully? This is no television-dependent, “I’m bored” kind of kid, but one who makes her own magic every day. For teachers who want to encourage that creativity, you can download a story hour kit from Candlewick that includes activities for several of their picture books and one of them is a story-starter page for students to follow in Rose’s footsteps and announce how they FEEL today and then a space to write up their story, or draw a picture of themselves as their alter-ego. “I feel INSPIRED!” This book is just brimming with emotion and Denton captures it all perfectly in her delightful illustrations. And, thanks, Lynn, for allowing us to explore our feminine sides today. Ok, now you and the focus group can bring on another bug book if you must!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

1 Comment on "The Queen of France by Tim Wadham"

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  1. teachmetowalk@hotmail.com' Andrea says:

    We read a lot of small-boy books around here, too. I try to pick up books geared toward little girls once in awhile, to get ideas for gifts for little girls that I know (I give a lot of books as gifts). Anyway, this one looks cute.

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