Friday, September 16, 2011

Book Review: The Queen and the Cats

I am so excited to review this beautiful new children's book, The Queen and the Cats: A Story of St. Helena, written by Calee Lee and illustrated by Turbo Qualls.

The Queen and the Cats tells a little known, but very true story of how St. Helena brought a piece of the True Cross to Cyprus.  At that time, all the churches and monasteries had been infested by snakes and people could not worship in those places.  St. Helena famously sent a boat full of cats back to Cyprus and the cats took care of the problem.

That's the adult version of the story.

This book, however, is told through the eyes of a little girl, watching all the excitement unfold. The story isn't watered down at all.  The illustrations are beautiful and vibrant.   Children's books so often flourish in one area or the other: either the story is watered down, but the book has great pictures, or its the other way around.  The Queen and the Cats is a wonderful blend of both.

In the back of the book, there is a small biography of St. Helena, along with the Troparion of her Feast day and a photograph of the True Cross which St. Helena left on Cyprus centuries ago.  I really appreciated this little addendum, especially as a homeschooling mom, because I can read this story, which almost seems so outrageous that its almost unreal, and the turn around and explain to my children that this is a TRUE story and that God worked a miracle through St. Helena's ingenuity and her love of the people of Cyprus.

Run, don't walk, to get this book off of Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  It is the first in what will hopefully be a long line of affordable Orthodox children's books published by Xist Publishing.  It is available for $4.99 on Kindle and $11.99 for a soft cover copy.