When I spotted Grace Dent’s brilliant article ‘What could be more British than to be somewhat proud of this country’ I was instantly reminded of a gloriously funny book that popped through the letterbox recently. The witty The Queen’s Hat by Steve Antony beautifully illustrates Grace Dent’s point that we British folk are “somewhat proud of our gorgeous, comforting non-brilliance”. What a very dignified and oh-so-British description. We are ‘somewhat proud’ of our quirkiness, our traditions, our culture and our self-deprecating humour. Steve Antony has caught this perfectly in his celebration of our royal family.
A sudden gust of wind takes the Queen’s hat on a journey across London. The Queen, not one for taking any nonsense, gives chase with her loyal corgi at her heels and a swarm of royal guards close behind. They travel over the sights of London until the hat lands perfectly, as if by royal command.
The joy of this book is in the detail. Each stylish spread contains lots to look and laugh at, with every guard slightly different and a dignified nod to all we hold dear. From the corgi in a jumper, the Queen’s ever present handbag, pigeons over Trafalgar Square and the commuter-cram into the London Underground, to the butler always at hand with a perfectly balanced tea tray, this book beautifully depicts our traditions and our relationship with the Royal Family. With its nod to Danny Boyle’s Olympic opening ceremony, my favourite page shows the Queen and her followers gently floating down under Mary Poppins-esque umbrellas. Brilliant.
A stylish book, even the colour scheme is a patriotic red white and blue. Top marks to Steve Antony who definitely deserves to be somewhat proud of his debut.
Source: kindly sent for review by Hodder Children’s books.