Little Man picked up this book at the library, I flicked through it and put it back on the shelf, but he got it down again, and so it came home. The cover is certainly striking, as are the pictures inside, but I wasn’t sure it would appeal to him. I was wrong – he loves it. It’s a simple storyline with just a line or two on each page about the Queen stepping outside “to visit someone very special” when the wind blows her hat away. And the pictures sing.
The illustrations are fresh and bold in just black, white, red and blue – and very British. The drawings show the Queen chasing her hat through London’s iconic landmarks, including the London Eye, Big Ben (my boy loves the clock) and Tower Bridge. There’s red double-decker buses, Union Jacks and grand palaces. Each picture runs over a double page, but doesn’t fill the whole space, keeping it feeling fresh. The Queen is followed by scores of “Queen’s men” decked out in red tunics and bearskins, which Little Man loves to count, although there’s far more than what he can count to just yet. There’s lots of animals for young children to point out as the hat flies past the London Zoo and, for a bit of fun, there’s a butler carrying a tea tray to spot on every page. My favourite picture shows all the characters floating back to earth with black umbrellas, Mary Poppins style, before the Queen meets a waiting trio – a man and woman with a pram.
The book was released just after Prince George was born and is a fun, yet respectful tribute to his birth. I’m happy to stand corrected by my toddler – The Queen’s Hat is fresh and fun and I’d recommend reading it with toddlers to young primary school aged children.
It is author/illustrator Steve Antony’s first book and was nominated for the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal, as well as being shortlisted for a number of other awards.
You can buy The Queen’s Hat from the Book Depository.*
This book kids love is written and illustrated by Steve Antony. 32pp. Published in London by Hodder Children’s Books, 20014. ISBN: 9781406304565.
*Disclosure: I have not been paid to write this review, and the views expressed are my own. The books I review mainly come from my own collection, my local library, and sometimes what my children bring home from their school library. I also welcome books from authors and publishers, but cannot guarantee to print a review – it must be a book kids love. If you follow my link to the Book Depository to purchase this book, I will receive 5 per cent of the sale as commission, which I’ll use to buy more books!