The Queen in the Cave

The Queen in the Cave
Age Range
Release Date
May 24, 2022
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In her debut as author-illustrator, Júlia Sardà spins an enthralling and evocative tale, rich with layers of meaning to be discovered.

One night, Franca has a dream about a marvelous queen who lives in a dark cave, deep in the forest. She cannot sit still until she knows if her dream is true. So with her younger sisters, Carmela and Tomasina, Franca ventures into the forest at the end of their garden. As they travel deeper through nettles and thickets, drawing closer and closer to the cave, the world shifts, and everything shrinks and expands at the same time. Here, they meet beasts and creatures that shock and delight them, and they escape horrible things that frighten them. They learn to be brave, to be bold, to face their darkest fears. And what of the queen? Well, what they find in the cave is perhaps the most unexpected thing of all . . . In Júlia Sardà’s irresistible, mysterious modern fairy tale, each spread is a stunning and wildly imaginative set piece brought to life in sumptuous color and detail.

Editor review

1 review
Wild Adventure
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One day, Franca feels something odd. It beckons her into the woods, so she and her two sisters, Carmela and Tomasina, sneak out to find the source of Franca's sensations. Franca feels at home in the forest, but her two sisters are a bit more hesitant, especially when they reach the cave. There, they find someone who looks just like Franca, and Franca feels like she's found where she belongs, but her sisters are ready to get home. When Franca returns home that night, it's with a heart full of happiness when she slides into bed with her sisters.

THE QUEEN IN THE CAVE is a unique and dark children's book full of wild imagination and adventure. It reads like a myth and to me, seems like Franca goes through self-discovery in that cave. Tt gives off Alice in Wonderland vibes with the odd scenes and alluring pictures. The illustrations are gorgeous and so vivid that they capture your attention more than the dialogue. Another positive is the sisterly bonding, especially at the end. While I love how this story encourages an active imagination, I do worry about how it could give children the idea to sneak out of their homes to adventure in the woods. As long as they take it as a myth, it's an interesting and thought-provoking tale.

Final Verdict: I would recommend this to children who love adventure with a bit of oddities. It's also a good read for children with vivid imaginations and those who enjoy the movie Alice in Wonderland. While it's recommended for ages five and up, I would encourage it for older ages like seven or eight and up.
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