When a queen, looking severe in her ball gown, suddenly misses her shadow at her own ball, the visual capabilities of her guests are put to the test in this mystery infused with natural science.
The Royal Detective, a mantis shrimp, confronts each guest to determine which might have taken advantage of the chaos following a thunderclap and momentary loss of light to steal the shadow. Each—chameleon, shark, snake, goat, dragonfly, colossal squid, pigeon—has an alibi, however: His or her attention and sight were focused elsewhere during the moments in question. By the time two young (sea) urchins provide the amusing solution, readers will have encountered multiple definitions of sight. Double-page, digitally worked pen-and-ink illustrations offer a look at the scene from each guest’s perspective and provide visual explanations for unique ways of seeing. Areas of light and dark, perspectives from above and the side, washed-out and saturated color are used to reveal the scope and limits of specific types of sight. Inset text boxes provide descriptions of how sight works for each creature. The slightly formal prose and zany details and dialogue accentuate the silliness of the narrative. Backmatter includes an overview of the mechanics of sight in humans, more about each animal and a glossary; there is no resource list.
Wonderfully odd and cleverly informative. (Informational picture book. 7-10)