Do picture books about princesses and queens make you want to tear your hair out? Your little girl may like to be endlessly read stories with sparkles on every page, but if you have to read it one more time will you go insane? Well Juliette MacIver and Lucia Masciullo have just created a picture book about a queen that adults will enjoy just as much as children. It’s called Queen Alice’s Palaces.
Queen Alice has a palace that’s ‘gilded and grand’ while poor, hard-done-by Sir Hugh has a castle that’s ‘crumbly and small.’ Dastardly Sir Hugh hatches a plan to get his own palace – he’ll get Queen Alice to build a palace of ‘stunning design,’ then he’ll steal it, ‘by means of a military coup.’ Queen Alice constructs a series of unique palaces, made from bamboo, ice, cheese and other strange building materials. Can she outwit Sir Hugh or will he steal his own palace?
Queen Alice’s Palaces is a rollicking picture book filled with imagination, wonder and humour. Juliette and Lucia have let their imaginations run wild and built all sorts of wonderful, if slightly impractical, palaces. Juliette’s rhyming text bounces along, making it a joy to read aloud. As with Juliette’s other books (Marmaduke Duck and the Marmalade Jam), you need to warm up your mouth because you find your mouth doing gymnastics and getting tongue-tied as you read. Just the title alone gives your mouth a good work out. I love Juliette’s use of language too, like ‘gilded and grand’ and ‘cunning, conniving and callous.’ I think it’s wonderful when you can read a picture book and learn new and interesting words.
Lucia Masciullo’s illustrations are the perfect match for Juliette’s text. I really love the way that she has portrayed the characters, especially the ‘cunning, conniving and callous’ Sir Hugh. He looks very villainous and his creepy little mustache makes me laugh every time (especially when he twirls it). He will appeal to the boys, while the very glamourous Queen Alice will appeal to the girls. Lucia clearly had a lot of fun creating the palaces, which all look spectacular. There is certainly plenty to discover in the illustrations on each page.
Warm up your mouth, fire up your imagination and share Queen Alice’s Palaces with the children in your life.