cover image Mrs. Armitage: Queen of the Road

Mrs. Armitage: Queen of the Road

Quentin Blake. Peachtree Publishers, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56145-287-3

She's biked (Mrs. Armitage on Wheels), she's surfed (Mrs. Armitage and the Big Wave) and this irrepressible heroine now climbs behind the wheel of a car-of sorts. When her Uncle Cosmo buys a motorcycle, he gives his ""old car"" to Mrs. Armitage. She comments to her ""faithful dog,"" Breakspear, that ""It doesn't look very exciting.... But we'll give it a try."" Soon after the two take off in the vintage vehicle, it hits a hole in the road, sending the hubcaps flying. ""Hubcaps... Who needs them?"" says the nonchalant woman, who repeats this refrain when various collisions and calamities strip her car of fenders, bumpers, hood and roof. Finally, on a bumpy country road, the doors and trunk fall off as well, leaving but a silly skeleton of a car. Uncle Cosmo and his pals zoom onto the scene on their motorcycles, proclaim the vehicle ""a fantastic machine"" and present a selection of paraphernalia to the now hip biker-chick Mrs. Armitage, who (with Breakspear riding in the rear) leads the pack to the Crazy Duck Cafe for ""a game of billiards and a can of banana fizz."" Delightfully droll details in Blake's characteristically eccentric text and drawings keep this tale rolling along at a smooth clip. Readers will close the book chuckling-and hoping for Mrs. Armitage's reappearance in yet another mode of transport. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)