What we’re reading… The Queen’s Hat by Steve Antony

I’m not really a Royalist, but there’s something about the Windsors that makes us Brits go a bit soft, isn’t there?

I suppose in a world where many major heads of state are unhinged ego-maniac men, we can be relieved that we’re in the hands of the Queen and her slightly dysfunctional but impeccably-mannered family (Prince Philip aside, obviously).

After all, the woman clearly has a great sense of humour, if the London Olympic opening ceremony is anything to go by.

The nation loved it when she appeared to skydive into the stadium with James Bond and The Queen’s Hat embraces this daredevil spirit to delightful effect.

It’s a straightforward story. Liz and her corgi are off to meet someone very special but as she strolls out of Buckingham Palace, a gust of wind sweeps her most favourite hat into the sky.

What ensues is a comedic chase around the landmarks of London with her pet pooch, an army of Queen’s Guards and a butler all in hot pursuit of her headwear.

Author-illustrator Steve Antony uses page turns to maximise the amusement, with the scenarios the chasing party find themselves in becoming increasingly crazy.

His Union Jack colour palette of red, white, black and blue is genius too – simple, striking and surprisingly sophisticated. No wonder this tale won the inaugural Oscar’s Book Prize in 2015.

Baby Bookworm was an instant fan when we read this story and always has a huge smile on his face when he spots the prim-faced Monarch driving a tube train, riding a giraffe and swinging off the London Eye.

And the punchline when that hat floats down to Earth, landing square on the head of the royal baby the Queen was off to meet, never fails to make him chuckle.

Let’s hope Her Majesty and her millinery have a less dramatic journey when she goes to meet her new grandson this week!

The Queen’s Hat by Steve Antony. £6.99 (paperback), Hodder Children’s Books

Read more…

Lisa Stickley reveals how her two daughters inspired The New Baby

We meet Oscar’s Book Prize winner Rachel Bright

The very best tales about dogs

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