I’ve always loved illustrated children’s books, probably more so as an adult than as a child. While there are many classics to choose from I am totally enamored by a recently released book, “Her Majesty’s Explorer: A Steampunk Bedtime Story”, written by Steampunk novelist Emilie P. Bush and illustrated by William Kevin Petty. Author Bush has previously written two Steampunk novels “Chenda and the Airship Brofman” and “The Gospel According to Verdu”. This is her first children’s book.
“Her Majesty’s Explorer” is a first on another level too. It is the first children’s book in the Steampunk genre and a delightful introduction to Steampunk for children. The book has a charming vintage look. The gentle illustrations capture the soul of St. John Murphy Alexander and his daily routine.
“It's a dirty job, but he loves it. St. John Murphy Alexander walks the world exploring for the Queen. He sees the most extraordinary landscapes, creatures and weather. He gets very, VERY dirty. Exhausted, he returns to H.Q. and gets ready for a well deserved rest and some sweet dreams.” Amazon
The mechanical protagonist is described best in the following quote:
“St. John Murphy Alexander, “Her Majesty’s Explorer,” is literature's most charming mechanical man since L. Frank Baum's Tin Man.” ~ Jim Barnes Independent Publisher (2/10/12)
The combination of Emilie Bush's clever verse and William Kevin Petty's brilliant illustrations has given children's literature a character unlike any other we’ve seen before.
The book has a bonus too, a second story, "Three Cheers For Steamduck". This mechanical duck practically steals the show he is so adorable.
The story behind the author and illustrator is an interesting one. William Kevin Petty sent an illustration of an airship to the author via Facebook, asking if it looked like the Airship Brofman she had in mind in her first book. Soon more illustrations came and the two united to do the storybook. The two had not met in person yet since Captain William Kevin Petty was sending the images from Kuwait -- where he was deployed with the Tennessee Army National Guard. Most of the book was completed before Captain Petty returned stateside.
For those who are not familiar with Steampunk and would like to know more about it, I suggest you visit the author’s web, Coal City Steam.
This charming story warms your heart. It is a modern classic that will join the ranks of all our favorite children’s books. You cannot meet St. John Murphy Alexander and Steamduck without inviting them into your heart. The story is a fitting tribute to the life of a soldier.
I feel close to this book because the author is a friend of mine. I heard about the book when it was just an idea and watched it grow into the amazing reality it is. It made it as an Amazon best seller the first day of release.
Illustrations make a children's book for me, I have several that have been top on my list for some time. This book, with its small format of 34 pages in paperback, is now in first place. The illustrations are naive, yet polished. The illustrator has an amazing talent to bring Emilie's vision to life. St. John Murphy Alexander marches across the pages of this little treasure with all the sweetness and bravado one could ask for in a children's character. Children love him and adults are smitten with the entire look and feel of this gem.Emilie's written verse is perfect for children, yet polished for adults. The words and illustrations go hand in hand to make a perfect book.
There are other 'hidden' illutrations throughout the book and at the end the readers have a list to go back and to see where they are. This book for being small in size is huge in its entertaining possibilites for children and as an adult I am totally taken with our mechanical hero.