Queen Victoria’s Bathing Machine, words by Gloria Whelan, pictures by Nancy Carpenter published in 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
The dog days of summer! You know, when the sweat trickles down your back, and the kids’ bangs are plastered to their flushed foreheads; the dog sprawls on the tile floor and the jungle hum of cicadas wierdly pierces the air.
Well! Try coping with layers of itchy petticoats and a breath-defying corset to boot! And forget about air conditioning or that tall glass of iced tea.
That’s what poor Victoria faces as she looks longingly towards the sea and dreams of a nice, cool, swim.
The problem is, it’s beyond scandalous to even think of exposing so much as a dimpled knee to the populace. What to do?
Leave it to her doting and inventive husband, Prince Albert, to construct the bathing machine — a discreet little cabin on wheels. Roll it down to the water’s edge. Enter properly dressed. Exit into the waves, quite out of sight of all commoners. Voila! Or at least, that’s the theory.
This delightful little slice of history is brought to life with Gloria Whelan’s lively, humorous, rhyming text, and Nancy Carpenter’s fetching, lighthearted illustrations. A short Author’s Note fills in some historical detail and there’s a color photo of the real bathing machine plus suggestions for further reading about dear Victoria.
A perfect dip for a summer’s day, for ages 4 and up.
Pom and Pim, written by Lena Landström, illustrated by Olof Landström translated from the Swedish by Julia Marshall American edition published in 2014 by Gecko Press
The cute little bean-o in the razzleberry knit zootsuit is Pom. Pim is the oddsy stuffed companion.
Lucky for them, it’s a sunny day, and they are headed out for some fun, when…blam! Pom trips on a rock and does a faceplant onto the ground. Bad luck!
Good luck soon rebounds, however, with a trip to the ice cream store. But the follow-up tummy ache? Bad luck, indeed.
Follow Pom and Pim through a dayful of ups and downs, with a charming, happy ending. The Landströms’ collaboration skims along with few words, generous white space, and Scandinavian-style, minimalist compositions. The story is utterly engaging with its caprice, rapport, surprises galore, and ultimate satisfaction.
A superb new offering coming to us from Sweden for the itty-bitty set, ages 18 months and up.