cover image The Queen of France

The Queen of France

Tim Wadham, illus. by Kady MacDonald Denton, Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-4102-3

Faced with the prospect of having to pick up her messy bedroom, Rose assumes an alter ego: the Queen of France. This monarch is very fine indeed with her necklaces, bracelets, crown, parasol, and tulle skirt from "the make-believe basket," and her disdain for the common life ("I am shocked to see that you do your own cooking," the Queen of France tells Rose's mother). The Queen of France graciously offers to exchange places with Rose, but withdraws the invite when her faithful subjects express attachment to their lowly daughter ("I will miss her infinity times infinity," says Rose's mother. "That is a very large amount," says the queen). Wadham makes a terrific debut; his rhythmic prose and comic pacing feel elegant and effortless, and he handles his diminutive fantasist and her parents with the kind of unaffected empathy that can elude more experienced authors. He's also fortunate in his collaborator—Denton (A Visitor for Bear) wonderfully conveys the story's impishness, emotional subtleties, and familial affections. Just watching the queen strut her regal stuff is worth the price alone. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)