Queen's Shadow, The
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.