The Queen’s Hat by Steve Antony was one of my favourite children’s books of 2014. I wasn’t the only one to love it either. Children were bewitched by the tale and it deservedly won Oscar’s First Book Prize, a prestigious new award launched by the Evening Standard.
Now Steve has created a follow-up, The Queen’s Handbag, and it’s every bit as enchanting as The Queen’s Hat.
This time round the Queen is sitting in a glorious carriage (with a cheery-looking corgi), ready to embark on a tour of the country. Suddenly a naughty swan swoops off with the royal handbag and is hotly pursued by the Queen – by sports car, motorbike, Red Arrows plane, penny-farthing, parachute, on horseback (of course) and more.
Along the way she chases the swan to famous sights like Stonehenge, the dreaming spires of Oxford, Snowdonia, the Giant’s Causeway, the Angel of the North and Edinburgh Castle. Not surprisingly, chasing behind her are an awful lot of intrepid police officers and a butler carrying a mystery box.
Once again, Steve’s illustrations – all in hues of red, white, black and blue – are clever, stylish and funny. I can’t think of a child or adult who wouldn’t like this book so if you’re looking for a present for an under-five The Queen’s Handbag would be absolutely perfect. Actually, I’d be thrilled to receive it myself.
The Queen’s Handbag by Steve Antony (Hodder Children’s Books, £11.99)