The book came out in May 2015 and after seeing the interview on DeafNation, I went ahead and posted a quick blurb about Shay& Ivy: Beyond the Kingdom (2015) by Sheena McFeely (Author), Casie Trace (Illustrator).
Shay& Ivy: Beyond the Kingdom (May 15, 2015) by Sheena McFeely (Author), Casie Trace (Illustrator)
Hardcover: 28 pages
Publisher: The Mansfield Press (May 15, 2015)
I was fortunate enough to read this book today and let me tell you, they had me even before the first page!
Mirror, MirrorOn the Wall.You are beautiful.Inside.
Shay & Ivy: Beyond the Kingdom shares the story of two young girls who are playing dress up and make believe with their friends. When Shay figuratively steps out of the box of princess land, her friends don’t see her behavior as very princess-like. Shay doesn’t understand why she must be confined to imaginary balls and royal gowns when her imagination has the power to make her a brave warrior! But then, how will she ever fit in if she no longer wants to be a princess?
Mom to the rescue! Realizing that her daughters can be more, she must show them that they too can be scientists, artists, chefs, and even president! What in the world will Dad discover when he arrives home from his business trip with special gifts for the girls?!?
I love so many aspects of this book. First because of the nature of this blog, I should point out that readers should presume that all of the characters are Deaf. Some signs are used within the story but I enjoy how it is incorporated into the artwork instead of being an add-on. Of course, this isn’t a story about being a Deaf family with Deaf daughters; it’s a story about daughters and how they experience life.
I really appreciated how Sheena McFeely let the story unfold. It isn’t overly complicated just to be complicated. She added her own layer of complexity by allowing the characters’ concerns to be revealed. Shay really wants to be one way; Ivy wants to be another. The parents in the story embrace this. McFeely also added aspects that many young girls experience—the stress of having friends over; the stress of feeling different; and, even the stress of having one parent be away on a trip. She also added the close family connection—story time with Mom; the bond of sisters; and a Dad who is completely willing to take part in make-believe.
I’m not an artist so I will try my best to discuss the art even when I don’t quite know the technical terms. I enjoyed that it had depth. The artist Casie Trace added details to make the pictures feel detailed and rich. For example, on page 8 the colors she uses are bright but there is the subtle addition of a black sweater over Shay’s blue dress that is juxtaposed against the bright princess pinks and purples. On page 9, the artist adds images within the mirror that demonstrates her respect for this piece.
The story has the flare of Purplicious by Victoria and Elizabeth Kann except thankfully there weren’t any mean girls saying, "Pink is putrid!"; and, it also reminds me a bit of one of my favorite books, The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch.
It’s a great read and I look forward to future adventures of these sisters. Be sure to read my previous post where you can see an interview of the author including a link to the DeafNation interview (which includes captions for those not fluent in American Sign Language).
To learn more about future publications, visit: http://www.shayandivy.com/