The Queen's Hat by Steve Antony

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The Queen's Hat by Steve Antony

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: Classy and classic, this is a story for all generations and a brilliant, British book to boot.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: May 2014
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
ISBN: 978-1444919141

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Shortlisted for the 2015 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize: Best Illustrated Book

A naughty gust of wind comes along and blows the Queen’s hat right off her head. Her Majesty simply cannot be seen bare headed, and so she follows it in hot pursuit.

I absolutely adored this book. It’s a brilliantly simple idea, perfectly executed with style and grace, and just as much for adult readers as it is to their offspring who are hanging on every word. All the Queen’s men come and try to assist, but it’s really the lady herself who has the adventure. With a corgi nipping at her heels, she scales the Sphynx, rides a giraffe and drives a Tube train while the Beefeaters try to keep up.

This book captures London perfectly, and it’s a nice modern London, with the Eye and royal baby nestling among the classics of Trafalgar Square, Big Ben and Tower Bridge.

This is the most British of books and by Jove, it’s frightfully good. The illustrations are both classy and classic and the colour scheme is beautifully regal, with no colours beyond red, white and blue (and a bonus bit of black). But it doesn’t seem bland or lacking in any way, it seems spot on.

Like the colour scheme, the language is minimal and it’s really the pictures that tell the story. It’s not a rhyme, but it reminded me of The King’s Breakfast, in part because of the royal theme, but also because it’s that sort of style: elegant, timeless and fun and a little bit grown up.

I’ve never seen a book quite like this. It’s almost beyond words, but I’ll finish with one. It’s good. Really good. And every British household needs a copy, whether or not you’re George’s, William’s or Charles’s generation.

Thanks go to the publishers for sending us this fine book.

On a similar subject, you might also enjoy Get Ahead Fred by Daisy Dawes. Beautiful Britain also features in Changing Guard at Buckingham Palace by A A Milne and E H Shepard - and you'll find out about why sometimes all we want is a little bit of butter for the bread - whereas A Walk In Paris by Salvatore Rubbino is another beautiful children's book, with a touch of exotic European flare.

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