Me, the Queen and Christopher
Publisher: Orchard Books
In the month of the Diamond Jubilee, Giles Andreae and Tony Ross present a timely insight into the Queen's day to day life at Buckingham Palace.
We discover that her private quarters are actually rather 'homely', with peeling wallpaper and a pile of Royal underwear waiting to be ironed. She has a fondness for eating baked beans (with unfortunate repercussions), watching wrestling and working out to 1970s disco tracks. Oh, and on Fridays, she sports very fetching knickers with dogs on them.
If this is all starting to sound slightly improbable, it could well be due to the fact that the idea came to Giles Andreae in a dream. The result is a marvelously silly account of a seven year old girl's extraordinary day, when she is invited to have tea with the Queen. The two strike up a genuine friendship and the Queen proves to be a delightful character, eccentric and hugely likeable. When she is shown a photograph of the little girl's brother Christopher (who uses a wheelchair), she wants to know all about him. The intuitive monarch can tell that he likes cupcakes and promptly bakes him a batch. Later, during a royal procession, she spots the two siblings through the crowds and is keen to ensure that Christopher's day is extra special.
Particularly effective in terms of the book's approach to disability is the way it is Christopher's sense of humour that attracts the Queen's interest and affection as much as the fact that he happens to use a wheelchair.
Warm, touching and very funny, the book achieves the right levels of irreverence and poignancy. Plus the text is short and sassy, and the illustrations exuberant, making it accessible to a wide range of ages and abilities.