Samantha Rodman, Ph.D., DrPsychMom.com “blogapist”:
As a clinical psychologist, a mom of three, and the author of How to Talk to Your Kids About Your Divorce, I highly recommend that parents purchase this book for their children when they are separated or divorced. This story shows that divorce happens when two people are too different to make a marriage work, without blame or fault. It is told as a parable that will appeal to small kids—the queen and the king just cannot live in the same home because they are too different, although at first they didn’t realize that this was the case. This is a reassuring story that focuses on the love that both parents maintain for their child despite divorcing and living separately. Five stars.
Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, Founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network for Parents:
This inspired book provides a loving approach to discussing divorce with young children without blame or shame.
It’s an excellent resource for parents written by a woman who understands their challenges on the deepest personal level.
Dr. Robert Woliver, Kaneohe, Hawaii:
As a psychologist who works with children of divorce, I’m always on the lookout for new material that works. I recently purchased an attractive book for children of divorce titled The Queen of Fire and the King of Ice by Dana Del George.
No matter how good a book looks, the only question that counts is, “Does it Work?” Will children like it and find it valuable? The answer is a resounding “Yes.”
I tried the book first on a recalcitrant 4-year-old who was going through a very contentious divorce. Although the divorce had been finalized, the parents continued to battle and the little boy was caught in the middle. Other than trying to take my miniature toy cars from the play therapy room, he had not shown a great deal of interest in my other materials and books. However, when it came to reading The Queen of Fire and the King of Ice, his initial indifference quickly melted away.
When his mother finished the book, he asked her to read it again. He commented on how baby was like him–he also had two homes. The boy was just as eager to have his father read him the book the following week.
Why does the book work? There are several reasons. The setting of the book is important. From the first sentence (“Once there was a queen of fire who loved fairy tales”), it is clear that we are in a fairy tale. That is a setting that children love and are familiar with. Fairy tales impart a moral and children understand the archetypal characters in the story.
In Del George’s tale, the queen and king find love but are presented with a challenge–they can’t live with each other. Blame is not attached, which is important. Unfortunately, all too often, warring parents wrongly try to have the child pick sides. In Del George’s story, the conflict is resolved by the queen and king living in separate castles–because ice and fire do not mix. The child is able to enjoy both environments–at his mother’s castle, he can roast marshmallows with his mother, the queen of fire, and he can enjoy popsicles with his dad, the king of ice, at dad’s castle.
When we finished the book, both times he told his parents, “He’s like me. We have two houses.” The book works. It engages the child, who can relate to the characters. And, like all good fairy tales, the positive ending imparts optimism and hope that things can get better. That is a message that children need.
Lori Kennedy, parent:
I think The Queen of Fire and the King of Ice resonates well with all children experiencing the divorce of their parents. It was a story with which my 3 year-old son and 5 year-old daughter could immediately identify. Upon first reading The Queen of Fire and the King of Ice, I could see the flash of understanding in their eyes and a warm flush across their faces of realizing the lives of the characters mirrored their own.
It has reassured them that someone else does understand the things that they are feeling and experiencing. It has also reassured them that the divorce is wholly a matter of incompatibility between the Fire Queen and the Ice King, quieting their worries it might be somehow their fault.
It now is one of their favorite bedtime stories!
Dr. Marilyn Coleman, University of Missouri:
I do a great deal of research on remarriage and stepfamilies…. The Queen of Fire and the King of Ice [is] an outstanding example of a high quality book for children. This book is creative, beautifully illustrated, and one that adults will enjoy as much as children. I think young children will easily understand some of the book (moving back and forth living with each parent), but other aspects of the book would need to be explained. I am not sure young children understand the issues of compatibility that are so beautifully portrayed in this book. They would like the story, but might need help in understanding the ice and fire metaphors. Older children will certainly understand it, and for that reason, I would not limit this book to only very young children.
So many children’s books about divorce are contrived and frankly boring. This book is excellent literature that makes points without being condescending to children or by beating them over the head with certain ideas. It is a lovely book with layers of meaning. I highly recommend it.