Every person in the entire land was crying.
In the royal city the rich nobles cried in the windows of their carriages, hiding their faces in silk handkerchiefs. Poor beggars sat by the road and cried too, wiping their noses on their dirty sleeves. …
… They were all crying because the Queen had died. It’s always very sad when a queen dies, but this time it was especially sad because the Queen had been very good and very just and very beautiful, and all the people loved her very much.
What do you do when there is no direct relative to take the place of the Queen? You appoint her best friend. And in this case, her best friend is Lucy, the royal beagle. But what if you thought you were more qualified to be leader of the country than Lucy? You might just be a bit put out and perhaps even try to show others why a beagle isn’t the best choice as leader. Add in some fleas, some advisors and you have a recipe for a dastardly plot. Or a royal mystery interlaced with humour and adventure. Or both. There are black and white illustrations throughout, framed as if windows into the action.
Regal Beagle is delightfully absurd, almost vaudevillian in its humour. The goodies are very good, the baddies are dreadful and the people of this kingdom (Queendom?) are easily led. Lucy is not sure she wants to be queen, but when there seems no other option, she tries very hard to be her best. She is humble and gentle, trusting and fallible. Fortunately, as well as the evil Lord Runcible, there are others in the royal palace prepared to support and advise her. Newly independent readers will enjoy this illustrated chapter book. Recommended for junior primary readers.
Regal Beagle, Vijay Khurana ill Simon Greiner
Random House 2014 ISBN: 9780857983701
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller