The Bandit Queen by Natalia and Lauren O’Hara

“O Bandit Queen!” the bandits cried.
“Little horror! Poison weed!
We’ll give you everything a queen could ever need…”

Just like its sister Hortense and the Shadow, this picture book is a treasure. An orphan girl is stolen by mischievous bandits and made their queen. But faced with the difficult and unavoidable task of growing up, she needs help– help she feels the bandits are too childish to give. Back at school, she soon realises that she misses her family, and they miss her. And the bandits promise once again to give her everything a growing queen could ever need.

“We know you felt mad,
And lonely and sad –
We’re sorry as sorry can be.
But whatever you do
We’ll always love you.
We’ll help you be all you can be.”

This is a gorgeous book about growing up and finding your tribe. The language is rich and full of rhythm and rhyme with a touch of hilarious potty humour. There’s a great contrast between some pages stuffed full of fabulous words and others with only three or four– each making a statement in their own way.

As always, the illustrations and colour palettes are stunning– vibrant and whimsical. This is a picture book aimed at small children but will definitely appeal to older ones as well– it has a ‘grown-up’ picture book feel.

Thank you to Natalia and Lauren for this beautiful copy– yet another success!

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