Queen of the Sea
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Queen of the Sea is a graphic novel set in a slightly alternate 16th-century England, written and illustrated by Dylan Meconis. At an isolated island convent, the action focuses on 12-year-old Margaret as she attempts to solve the secrets of her home and her own shadowy history. Filled with lore about chess, farming, and needlepoint, the book depicts a realistic view of life in England in the 1500s, although with no violence or strong language. Margaret is shocked to see unmarried adults kissing.
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What's the Story?
As QUEEN OF THE SEA opens, 12-year-old Margaret loves living and working at the nunnery of St. Elysia. Gradually, however, she learns that the island where her convent is located is a hotbed of political intrigue, where those who have offended the King of Albion are sent in exile. Chief among those offenders is Eleanor, the former Queen, who does not intend to remain quiet. When a bedraggled castaway washes up at the convent, Margaret feels compelled to help him, even though her actions might be seen as treasonous.
Is It Any Good?
Some readers might be intimidated by a tale about an ancient nunnery, but this lushly wrought graphic novel makes its central conflict urgent and understandable. Writer-illustrator Dylan Meconics deftly captures the rhythms of life in a convent, presenting a group of women who are compassionate, resourceful, and brave. Orphaned Margaret begins the novel naive, but she toughens up as the narrative unspools, while Eleanor learns to be more personable and compassionate. The plot allows for some resolution, but it's clear at the end that the saga will continue. That's good news for anyone who enjoys complex historical fiction and characters who dare strike out against injustice. Some readers will find the novel challenging, but those who stick with it will be amply rewarded.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how Queen of the Sea changes some facts of history to tell its story. Why do readers like alternate histories and the changes they make?
Margaret is scandalized when she sees two unmarried adults kissing. How have ideas about romance changed over the centuries?
How do you define a place as your home? Is it where you live, where you grew up? where the most people know you?
- Author: Dylan Meconis
- Illustrator: Dylan Meconis
- Genre: Graphic Novel
- Topics: Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, History
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Walker Books U.S.
- Publication date: June 5, 2019
- Number of pages: 400
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: November 30, 2020
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