The Queen and the Nobody Boy by Barbara Else is a finalist in the Junior Fiction category of the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. I love the world of Fontania that Barbara introduced us to in The Traveling Restaurant. I reviewed it in September last year, so if you want to hear all about it and find out what makes it such a worthy finalist, read on. You can also read my interview with Barbara Else and Barbara’s guest post about The Queen and the Nobody Boy here on the blog.
Last year, Barbara Else took us on a magical journey through the land of Fontania, with Sibilla and The Traveling Restaurant. Now she takes us back to Fontania and introduces us to some wonderful new characters in The Queen and the Nobody Boy.
Hodie is the unpaid odd-job boy at the Grand Palace in the Kingdom of Fontania. Fed-up, he decides to leave and better himself.
The young Queen, 12 -year-old Sibilla, is fed-up too. Sick of gossip about her lack of magical ability, she decides to run away with Hodie, whether he likes it or not.
The Queen and the Nobody Boy is a magical story, full of adventure, danger, royalty, spies, flying trains, stinky trolls and poisonous toads. Trouble is brewing from the very beginning of the story. The Emperor of Um’Binnia threatens war with Fontania and he hopes to destroy what magic there may be in the world. The Fontanians have been looking for ‘The Ties’ for many years, but nobody really seems to know what they are, and for the Emperor to carry out his plans he must get his hands on them too. Little do they know how important an odd-job boy might be.
Your favourite characters from The Travelling Restaurant return, including Sibilla and the pirate chef, Murgott. Hodie is the main character of this tale of Fontania. Even though he’s not treated very well in the Palace, he’s smart and brave, and determined to make something of himself. My favourite quote from the book sums up Hodie, ‘Whether a boy was somebody or nobody, if he was normal he was expected to be curious.’ Hodie and Sibilla meet lots of other interesting characters on their journey, including a rather strange Um’Binnian spy called Ogg’ward, and a very persistent squirrel. The Um’Binnians themselves are quite interesting. They have a different way of speaking and their names look and sound strange.
If you loved The Traveling Restaurant you have to get your hands on The Queen and the Nobody Boy, but if you haven’t read it this book will make you fall in love with the land of Fontania. You certainly won’t be able to go past this book on the shelf without wanting to see what magic is inside, thanks to Sam Broad’s brilliant cover.
4 out of 5 stars