The Queen on Our Corner by Lucy Christopher, illustrated by Nia Tudor. Lantana, 2021. 9781911373889
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Format: Hardcover picture book
What did you like about the book? In a busy, busy neighborhood (check out the first spread – roofer roofing, girl and her mom walking, kids running and biking, cat on a roof…) there’s a woman and her old dog sitting on a wall on the corner in front of an empty lot. A young girl recognizes her as “the Queen” who has fought many battles, made great journey’s, fought dragons, and had “more adventures than anyone”. No one else in the neighborhood seems to see her, however and when they do they sneer and wish she would leave. When a fire starts in the shop, the Queen and her hound let everyone know in time to save their lives and protect their homes. The little girl shouts out her gratitude to the Queen and finally everyone can see her. They recognize that what she needs is a home and they build her a house on the empty lot. This is a beautiful allegory about homelessness and community and who is truly “seen”. The illustrations are fun, beautiful, and diverse. Mixed media depictions of the neighborhood and people are busy and warm and easily highlight what’s real and what’s fantasy.
Anything you didn’t like about it? I’m usually bothered by endings that wrap it all up too neatly but this one really worked!
To whom would you recommend this book? Those who are doing community and neighborhood units will appreciate this book as well as those of us who just love a good story with a happy ending.
Who should buy this book? School and public libraries should purchase this for the little ones, ages 3-5
Where would you shelve it? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Pam WattsFlavin, Head of Children’s Services, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA.
Date of review: November 21, 2021