Review of Queen Victoria’s 
Bathing Machine

whelan_queen victoria's bathing machineQueen Victoria’s Bathing Machine
by Gloria Whelan; 
illus. by Nancy Carpenter
Primary    Wiseman/Simon    40 pp.
4/14    978-1-4169-2753-2    $17.99    g
e-book ed.  978-1-4424-5885-7    $12.99

How could Queen Victoria get into the sea on a hot day? Modesty decreed that she mustn’t be seen in her bathing costume. It’s Prince Albert to the rescue with a queen-sized bathing machine — large enough to fit the queen and her lady-in-waiting, and with wheels to roll it into the sea, where the waters would conceal Her Majesty. This entertaining story nicely encapsulates a curious bit of social history, though its glimpse of the royal family is as much fantastical as realistic, with a jaunty tall-tale tone governing a rhymed text (delighted with his creation, Prince Albert crows, “Let me tell you, my dear, what I propose. / You enter the back door wearing all of your clothes. / Off comes your dress, off come your rings, / off come all those unmentionable things”). Carpenter ably limns eight or so children in lively attendance, riding globes or peering through telescopes while Albert studies catapults or “old wars both Spartan and Punic.” The stifling frills and furbelows of Victorian dress; the loving couple’s delight in each other; and jacket art of the queen frolicking underwater in her voluminous black swimming costume, a minnow in her crown — Carpenter renders each in comical detail. A concluding note features a present-day photo of the commodious vehicle. A bibliography of Victoriana for various ages is appended.

Joanna Rudge Long About Joanna Rudge Long

Joanna Rudge Long is former editor of Kirkus Reviews and a frequent lecturer on children’s books.

Horn Book at Simmons Colloquium: Transformations
SummerTeen On October 2-3 2015, join an esteemed group of award-winning authors, illustrators, librarians, and other children’s book experts and aficionados in Boston, MA, for a memorable two-day event celebrating the best in children’s and young adult literature. Confirmed speakers include 2015 BOSTON GLOBE HORN–BOOK AWARD recipients Candace Fleming, Marla Frazee, Jon Agee, Gregory Maguire, and Neal Shusterman, plus a special keynote appearance by Susan Cooper.
Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind