Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Mrs. Armitage Queen of the Road

Mrs. Armitage Queen of the Road

Quentin Blake
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Peachtree Publishers, 2003   ISBN: 1561452874

Deep inside all of us there is a wild spirit, a person who would like to climb a mountain, dive with sharks, or perhaps, ride a loud motorbike. Mrs. Armitage is given an old car by a kindly uncle who has bought a new motorcycle and doesn't need the car anymore. It isn’t an exciting looking car - battered, old-fashioned and rusty - and Mrs. Armitage isn't very impressed, but she decides to go for a spin all the same. It isn't long before Mrs. Armitage discovers that her 'new' car is both prone to mishaps and it isn't very robust. Very soon the venerable vehicle starts to fall to bits.

With his wonderful minimalist ink and watercolor illustrations Blake conveys the wonderful freedom that Mrs. Armitage begins to feel as the car falls apart around her. All the superfluous "stuff" "who needs it?" goes by the wayside until the bare bones of the car is all that is left. Quite by accident, Mrs. Armitage has become a 'biker chick' of sorts and is at one with the road and the countryside. She also finds herself adopted by others who seek the open road and wind in their hair.

This is a truly amusing, unique, and warm story.

css.php