This morning as I stood at the front desk at the Hayridge I was greeted by a lovely library customer who told me she had enjoyed reading my Children's Book Review Column in today's Culm Valley Gazette. It was a very cheering start to my day, especially as I wasn't expecting it to come out til next week, so here it is for you all to read:
The Queen's Knickers
by Nicholas Allan
published by Red Fox April 2012
This charming and hilarious picture book has just been re-released this Spring in a special edition to celebrate our dear Queen's Diamond Jubilee, so its the perfect time to acquaint yourselves with it.
Nicholas Allan's fresh, fun watercolour illustrations blend perfectly with his relaxed and engaging story as we discover all about the Queen's collection of underwear. Obviously, the Queen must be prepared for every occasion; grand or adventurous, smart or casual, with pants from the pretty to the ridiculous, and this book lets us sneak a peek at a huge variety of her knickers.
Everyone will have their own favourite pair, mine would have to be the Balmoral tartan ones, though the Queen finds those a bit scratchy. One pair even turns into a parachute when the Queen has to jump out of a crashing aeroplane.
As the Queen enlists the help of her maids in selecting a suitable pair of knickers for a School Visit, we see her indecisive and fretful. As she dismisses frilly ones, jewelled ones, ones with corgis printed on them, she finally settles on a pair of good old, plain, comfy, big pants. And as one little schoolgirl points out to her - who can see them anyway!
It's a fabulous story that will appeal to both girls and boys, with its perfect blend of adventure, humour and sweetness. The general reaction of children to the words 'pants', 'knickers' or even better; 'bottom,' is predictable yet priceless and the picture book market contains a growing number of pants related books, one of the best being Nick Sharratt's “Pants” which is a brilliantly silly, rhyming exploration of underwear, followed by “More Pants” which is just as much fun. Others to try are ''Don't Put Your Pants on Your
Head, Fred,' 'Bottoms Up,' and 'Aliens Love Underpants.'
'The Queen's Knickers' is a gem and I honestly don't think the Queen would be ruffled by the subject matter at all! Grown-ups will love it just as much as kids will, perhaps even more!
Copies available for loan or to reserve from your local library.