The Queen in the Cave


When Franca shares her funny feeling with her younger sisters, they are stirred to suggest they have the same feeling. After all, Franca is their older sister; where she leads, they follow, even if it means going ‘where no-one has ever gone before!’ Although the younger girls are apprehensive about The Queen in the Cave to whom Franca is leading them, they’ve hopes she’s a ‘kind queen’. Yet, no-one sees ‘them leave‘….

Are nettles in the forest a good sign, really? Thereafter, what does it mean, when Franca urges Carmela and Tomasina to ‘be careful’ and ‘quiet’ for ‘their destiny‘ is unknown… Then again, as the forest changes all about them, they’re aware that the birdsong sounds different too. Then what of the other creatures? Might there be some magic at work that makes them miniaturise? Could this mean tea with Grandmother Spider? Or maybe marching through the Maze of Ants? Is it possible they might dance ‘with The Rats at Big Mama’s funeral party’? Then again, what of those who are not happy to be disturb by the girls? What of the Hanging Bats? Then again, the ‘ghoulish laughter’; they hear?

Bookwagon loves and recommends this gloriously illustrated picture book that is ripe for sharing, rereading, gifting and treasuring. Júlia Sàrda offers a wonder world of possibilities, suggestive of stories years ago, with outstanding, intricate pictures and a story of journey and togetherness!

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The Queen in the Cave

Júlia Sardà

(Walker Studio)- hardback

Carmela and Tomasina don’t really feel Franca’s funny feeling. However, she’s the eldest sister, which means the girls feel they must summon up the same stirring. After all they ‘want to be just like [their] sister’. 
Thereafter, they journey into her dream, to discover the ‘marvellous queen who lives in the darkest cave, deep in the forest, beyond the garden fence…‘ However, how committed are the girls? After all, is this a ruler who might  cast ‘spells like witch‘? Or could it be she grants ‘magic powers‘? Then again, where are they travelling, for it seems that the trees of the forest are ‘holding their breath, deciding whether or not to let them in’. 
It seems as though we’re part of the girls’ journey, for the pictures that Júlia Sàrda creates are complex with possibilities, potential danger and discovery. Then again, we are made aware of Carmela and Tomasina’s fear of their sister’s seeming recklessness. Should they follow her? Is it possible that ‘the frightening‘ might become ‘thrilling. The wild, the wondrous‘. Then again, might they lose themselves to all the possibilities, or might the feelings change as they go every deeper, into ‘the twistier’ of turns.
Bookwagon loves this provocative, heart beating story of wonder. There are hints of early traditional tale storytelling, alongside reminiscences of Lost Boys, battles, and hidden childish places. Like The Wolf’s Secret, this writer/ illustrators’ pictures are deep with meaning, accentuated by shape and colour. Bookwagon recommends The Queen in the Cave highly.


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