the queen's hat

Wednesday, June 24, 2015 |
I’m not all that interested in collecting picture books for myself, but I do want to be the sort of honorary aunt who has the most extensive library and gives the best books as gifts to the children she knows.  To that end, I’ve been paying more attention to picture book trends and award winners in recent years.  I don’t automatically think, “Not for me,” when I see a picture book anymore.  When I walked by the Scholastic booth at Book Expo America and saw the cover of Steve Antony’s The Queen’s Hat, I knew I had to check it out. 

the queen's hat by steve antony cover
A wild romp around London as the Queen loses her hat!

From Steve Antony, the author and illustrator of Please, Mr. Panda and Betty Goes Bananas!

A sudden gust of wind sets off a marvelous adventure for the Queen, lots of Queen's men, and one very special hat. Just where will that hat land? Following a hysterical, epic hat chase, the Queen is reunited with her hat -- and the royal baby!

Young children will love the cumulative nature of the story, the fun mayhem that breaks loose, and Steve Antony's winning art style. The Queen's Hat shows some of London's most famous sites, and back matter explains their significance.

The Queen’s Hat is an adorable picture book illustrated in a limited palette of red, black and blue (which makes some pages a puzzle for the eyes – in a good way – a la Where’s Waldo?).  Steve Antony plays with the idea of a hat stolen by the breeze, and takes his characters on a romp through London, to (and through! and over!) its most famous landmarks.  Certain figures grace every page: the Queen of course, and her hat, but also her argyle-sweatered dog and a palace butler (complete with tea service).  The adventures of the hat, its wearer, and her cohort make funny reading for young and old alike.

One of the strengths of the book is the accuracy of the blue line architecture drawings of London landmarks.  They’re illustrated in exquisite, 2-D detail.  The historical significance of each is explained on a page at the back of the book as well.  The fun in most of the page spreads is in the handful, then dozens, then hundreds of palace guards crawling and climbing over the monuments as they try to retrieve the Queen’s hat. Of course, some (most?) of their feats are out of the realm of human possibility, so there’s a lot of imagination and whimsy involved.  Which is just how it should be in a picture book!

In all, The Queen’s Hat is a charming, cheeky and entertaining picture book that’s likely to be requested and re-read over and over again.

Recommended for: young fans of Jon Klassen’s Hat books and the Where’s Waldo? series, as a gift for children who will visit London in the near future, and for anglophiles of all ages.

The Queen's Hat will be released in the U.S. by Scholastic on August 25, 2015.

Fine print: I picked up an ARC of this book for review at BEA 2015. I did not receive any compensation for this post.


Liviania said...

This sounds absolutely adorable.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review Cecelia! This one sounds delightful. If my library doesn't order it themselves, I'll definitely be suggesting it (partly so I can check it out myself, but still!).

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