Books & Literature

Book Review: Queen Celine, by Matt Shanks

A funny, eco-friendly, politically-relevant picture book about our need to share, be environmentally friendly, and own up to our mistakes.

Queen Celine wants to protect her own kingdom but there are repercussions.

Matt Shank, born in Sydney, completed his Bachelor of Design degree at the University of Sydney. Ten years later he began using his talent for water colour painting to start illustrating picture books. He now lives in Melbourne and his love of the environment can be seen in his books.

Celine is an ordinary young girl who does ordinary things, but she loves nothing more than going to the beach and becoming Queen Celine, queen of her own special part of the beach. She chooses the most beautiful part but wants to keep it safe and to herself, so she builds a wall around her special pool of water. Now she can enjoy her kingdom and it can be hers forever. But can the pool of clean water and beautiful sea creatures survive when cut off from the rest of the ocean?

This story has many themes relevant to our world today. It teaches children we need to be environmentally aware, and that an environment does not survive in isolation. We also need to share. We need to share the beauty of our world but also ourselves. Life is not as enjoyable when we are alone. It is much more fun when we have someone with whom to share our moments of joy.  It is also about owning up to our mistakes and working to correct them. Lots of issues that can be used as discussion starters.

The illustrations are colourful and detailed, and depict the beauty of the ocean. The sea creatures are adorable and have a personality of their own. The illustrations have humour and there is cuteness overload.  

This is a lovely book to read to young children.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Walker Books Australia
Released: February 2019
RRP: $24.99

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