Happy 90th birthday to the Queen

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Thursday 21st April 2016

Queen's Handbag Steve AntonyHow appropriate on the Queen’s 90th birthday to receive the brand-new paperback edition of one of my favourite children’s books – The Queen’s Handbag by Steve Antony.

It’s even more appropriate considering that little Mia Tindall, Princess Anne’s granddaughter, stole the show in Annie Liebovitz’s stunning portrait of the Queen with seven of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

How? Because in an apparently unscripted moment, she picked up her great-granny’s £1,000 Launer handbag and proudly clutched it. The photograph was splashed across today’s front pages.

The Queen’s Handbag is a picture book that will stand the test of time. There’s no question about it. The follow-up to The Queen’s Hat, it starts with the Queen sitting in a glorious carriage with a cheery-looking corgi, ready to embark on a tour of the country. Suddenly a naughty swan swoops off with the royal handbag and is hotly pursued by the Queen – by sports car, motorbike, Red Arrows plane, penny-farthing, parachute, on horseback (of course) and more.

Along the way she chases the swan to famous sights like Stonehenge, the dreaming spires of Oxford, Snowdonia, the Giant’s Causeway, the Angel of the North and Edinburgh Castle. Not surprisingly, chasing behind her are an awful lot of intrepid police officers and a butler carrying a mystery box.

Once again, Steve’s illustrations – all in hues of red, white, black and blue – are clever, stylish and funny. I can’t think of a child or adult who wouldn’t like this book so if you’re looking for a present for a small child The Queen’s Handbag would be absolutely perfect. I hope the Queen has seen a copy because I suspect she’d rather approve.

The Queen’s Handbag by Steve Antony (Hodder Children’s Books, £5.99)

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