She may be the Queen of all she surveys, but she can be a tad careless with her personal possessions. Having been happily reunited with an errant hat in Steve Antony’s previous brush with royalty, the Queen is now in hot pursuit of a flying handbag.
The Queen is not alone in being a woman who is emotionally attached to her handbag and its contents, so when a brigand swan swoops in and snatches it, a chase pursues.
Now you might think, what with having all the Queen’s horses and all the Queen’s men at her disposal, Her Majesty might be tempted to leave the legwork to others. But not a bit of it. No sooner has the burglar bird swanned off than the Queen herself hops in her shiny red sports’ car, puts her foot firmly on the accelerator, and off she whizzes…
With her faithful corgi clad in his patriotic colours by her side at all times, this determined Queenie switches swiftly from one mode of transport to another. And, as some well-known disco kings might say, there ain’t no stopping her now,
she’s got the groove
Whizzing through Windsor and motorcycling round Stonehenge, soaring in a Red Arrow above the White Cliffs of Dover, looking precarious atop a Penny Farthing in Oxford and chugging past the wide wings of the Angel of the North, the Queen stops at nothing in her whistlestop tour of many of Great Britain’s historic sites.
And while the Queen gives chase, there’s plenty of comic details to spot in the ensuing chaos as legions of officers, including a copper showing off his Union Jack briefs, as they try to keep pace with the supersonic Queen.
Just as the books predecessor, The Queen’s Hat, took readers on an historic tour of London, each scene here is a set around a well-known British landmark. Eagle-eyed fans of Antony’s donut-eating Mr Panda might also notice a familiar face competing in the London Marathon.
Finally, the Queen captures the vagabond swan, wearing the criminal uniform of mask and stripes, with a triumphant leap. Phew!
This fun game of goose – or maybe swan? – chase is full of fast-paced action and a short but evocative text of swooping, speeding, chugging and galloping.
A worthy follow-up to the wonderful The Queen’s Hat, Antony’s choice of palette is a suitably patriotic red, white and blue. And we have to commend him for achieving an uncanny likeness to her Royal Highness. There’s just something about the flick of her curls and that lovely majestic smile that seems to mask a secret hankering for mischief.
Did you know? The Queen’s favourite handbag is made by British firm Launer. A loyal customer of the brand for over 50 years, she awarded Launer the Royal Warrant in 1968. She has four new handmade leather bags with their signature rope logo every year, each costing around £1,450 – though they might give her a discount.
Fun fact Her Majesty uses her handbag to send secret messages to her staff. If the Queen places her handbag on the table at dinner, it signals that she wants the event to end in the next five minutes. If she puts her bag on the floor, it shows she’s not enjoying the conversation and wants to be rescued by her lady-in-waiting.
Author notes Steve Antony was born in England, although he grew up mostly in a city in New Mexico called Alamogordo, where he was the kid with the British accent who liked to draw. He went on to study art, and graduated with an HND in Illustration from Swindon College. Several years later, he was made redundant from a call centre day job, which afforded him the opportunity to apply for a place on the MA Children’s Book Illustration at Anglia Ruskin. This was a real leap of faith as he had no plan B. Whilst on the course, Steve won a High Commendation for the Searle Award in 2011 for a book about endangered animals. Steve’s debut picture book, The Queen’s Hat, has been nominated for the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal.