So many wee Foot Guards!
This is a totally charming picture book, perfect for any Anglophile. There's not much to the plot--the Queen's hat blows off, and she and her guards chase it around to a variety of London landmarks--but the illustrations are lovely, and the entire finished product is just very fun.
The Queen and her men take an unexpected tour of London when the wind sweeps the Queen's hat off her head. With each page introduced, more of the Queen's men cram into the frame, super serious in their silly pursuit. Higher and higher they travel, climaxing at the pinnacle of Big Ben, only to be thwarted once again by the playful wind. With its descent, so too do the numbers of men decrease, until finally, in a rather cute ending, the hat and her Majesty are right back where they started. Antony uses a simple palette of reds, blues, and blacks against a white background, not only because these are the Union Jack's colours, but because they focus our attention in a purposeful manner too. The blue of the Queen naturally pulls the eye to the right hand page on which she usually resides, thus making sure we follow the running motion of the guards in their iconic red uniforms. The lengths at which these men are willing to go are quite funny, and they certainly are dedicated. As readers we can infer a few things about British culture from the pictures alone, such as the conditions of a trip on the London Underground, there are a few fun references to note as well. It is worth taking a good look at each illustration for the little details, like the Queen's corgi, which add that extra layer of enjoyment. While the subject matter is the factor which makes us pick up this book, it is the behaviour of the Queen, and the contrast between the attitude of her men and their actions that makes this such an amusing and charming read.
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