3 out of 4 stars
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Watch Her Shine, by Deborah Henry, is a children's book that revolves around Princess Dembe, daughter of King Rumba and Queen Tessa of the Beloved land. She was the sole heir to the throne. She was loved by everyone, especially the three woodland fairies, Bertha, Wanda, and Miranda. They protected her from when she was a child that loved to play in the forest a lot, where she was exposed to so many wild animals that could hurt her. Unfortunately, her mother, Queen Tessa, passed away, and King Rumba could hardly bear the loss of his wife. He fell terribly ill. The evil Prince Damian sought to seize this opportunity to overthrow the kingdom and force Princess Dembe to marry him. It was time for the princess to protect and lead her people. Will she be brave and strong enough to take up her father's mantle of protecting the land from Damian?
The author has created a very interesting female character in Princess Dembe, and children will relate to her as they follow her story from when she was a child. Watch Her Shine reminds me of several Disney stories but this time, there's no prince coming to save the princess. The book conveys a very important message to female children, equipping and enlightening them so that they can make life-determining decisions and take the lead on changing the world. I consider moral lessons to be the most important part of children's books, and this was what I liked most about this book. Bravery and the importance of togetherness are also lessons that children will pick up on while reading this book.
The author also includes eye-catching colorful illustrations, including illustrations of animals, trees, and characters mentioned in the book. Besides grabbing and keeping children's attention, the illustrations will serve to stimulate their imagination and educate them on different colors and animals. Some illustrations were included before the characters were introduced in the story, while some were included after. I would have preferred consistency in these parts of the book, as including illustrations before telling the reader about the character can be confusing.
The action and fantasy parts of the story will also excite children. The plot flows very well and a very simple language is used throughout the book. However, there was one instance when a character said: "what the devil?" and some parents may not be comfortable with reading that to their children. The book seems professionally edited, as I only found one error throughout the book.
Overall, Watch Her Shine is a very educative and interesting book. I liked the lessons that it conveys to children. The book isn't repetitive, though. Therefore, children just starting to learn how to read may not benefit too much from this book. I rate Watch Her Shine 3 out of 4 stars. I took out a star for the inconsistency in the placement of the illustrations. I would recommend this story to children of ages four to nine.
Watch Her Shine
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