Author: Josephine Nobisso
Illustrator: Katalin Szegedi
Publisher: Ginger Bread House
Age Range: 6 – 10
I read Josephine Nobissa’s wonderful story, The Weight of a Mass, awhile ago and always intended to read Take it to the Queen. Unfortunately, I’m one of the few reviewers around who was disappointed with Take it to the Queen. By far, the majority of people who review this book gush over how beautiful and rich the text and illustrations are, and how the allegorical story perfectly portrays Mary’s role as intercessor. I tried hard to like it, I gave it several reads, put it away and let it sink in, then pulled it off the shelf and tried again.
Nope. I still couldn’t engage in any real emotional depth with the book.
Firstly I’ll emphasize the many positive aspects of this book. It is a beautiful publication just like “The Weight of a Mass”. There are so many surprises such as the front cover that extends from front to back and tells a story in itself. Then the informative flaps on each side that are packed full of interesting notes, particularly about the religious references in the illustrations. The golden hues and visual references to sacred art are beautiful, made more interesting by what seems to be the ‘cracked canvas’ look that makes this book feel as if you are holding an ancient, precious tome that is dense with timeless truth.
Apart from that though, I wasn’t convinced that the allegorical story presented God the father, Mary and Jesus in a way that felt ‘right’. Maybe it is my own love of the Holy Family with St Joseph lovingly caring for Mary and Jesus that was getting in the way of accepting that Mary and God the father were married. Yes, I know it was allegorical and structured in the way of tales and fables where the King marries the beautiful princess – but I just couldn’t warm to the basic premise of the story.
I found the story to be too wordy and long. I found I struggled with several details of the allegory such as the significance of Golden Faucets (why a golden tap?). I actually didn’t like anyone much in the story by the end of it. And personally, I thought the son was a bit of a weakling. Mary of course remains lovely and thankful throughout but even she was getting on my nerves by the end of it.
I recall that the previous story, The Weight of the Mass, had fun illustrations that children would warm to and enjoy. There is very little in this story that children can actually enjoy. It is too dense, and dark, to be an effective means of engaging children. I don’t think it really portrays Mary, the Mother of God, in a way that I could recognize.
But honestly, give it a read and see what you think. Perhaps there is a European nuance to this story that I am missing entirely which I wholeheartedly own as personal ignorance on my part.
You can read my review of The Weight of the Mass HERE.
You can purchase both books HERE.