Sunday, May 26, 2024
The Queen's Handbag

The Queen’s Handbag

by Mark Warner
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Buy This Book * More books by Steve Antony

A very naughty thief has stolen the Queen’s handbag! There’s only one thing to do: chase the thief all over the landmarks of Great Britain! Hold on to your hats and join the Queen in this epic wild goose chase after one sneaky swan by car, motorbike, plane, boat, and more to get her handbag back!

Young children will love the search-and-find fun of the story, the hysterical mayhem that breaks loose, and Steve Antony’s winning art style. The Queen’s Handbag celebrates some of Great Britain’s most famous sites, like Stonehenge and Edinburgh Castle.

Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • Collect all the different verbs of movement (e.g. drove, rode) in the text then add your own to the list.
  • Write your own version where one or more elements of the story is changed: a different item is stolen, from a different person, by a different thief.
  • Make a list of prepositions used in the text, and draw a picture to illustrate each one. .
  • A sneaky swan swooped is a good example of alliteration. Can you invent some more alliterative phrases using this pattern?
  • Make a storyboard of the book.
  • Video yourself or a friend reading the book. Can you add actions to make it more exciting?
  • Write a newspaper report of the incident.
  • Rewrite the story from the point of view of one of the police officers.
  • Watch this animated version of the myth of Finn McCool and write a narration for how the Giant’s Causeway was formed (according to the legend!).


  • There are lots of counting opportunities in this book. Choose a page and count how many police officers, or vehicles are on it.
  • Research the speeds of the different modes of transport the Queen uses. Can you put them in order from fastest to slowest?
  • For older children, work out how many miles the Queen travelled, using a mapping tool to work out the distances between the landmarks.
  • Generate some multiplication questions based on the pictures; for example, If there are four police officers, each riding a bicycle, how many bicycle wheels are there? Outside Windsor Castle, there are seven police cars, each with four black stripes. How many black stripes are there altogether?
  • Look at the illustrations. How many shapes can you find? Where can you see a rectangle or a circle? Can you find horizontal, vertical, perpendicular, or parallel lines?
  • Create some word problems based on visiting the landmarks. For example, if it costs £20 for an adult and £10 for a child to visit Stonehenge, or £50 for a family ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children), which is the best way to pay for a family of two adults and two children)? If a return train ticket to Dover is £5 for an adult and £3 for a child, how much will it cost for one adult and three children to take the train to visit the White Cliffs?



  • Use Google Slides or PowerPoint to make a presentation about the landmarks in the book.
  • Take a virtual tour of one of the landmarks (e.g. Windsor Castle).
  • Design a game where the queen chases the swan to try and get her handbag back.

Design Technology


  • Have a look at some more of Antony Gormley’s work on the Royal Academy website.
  • If a monarch visited your area, what public art would they see? Go out and photograph or sketch it.
  • Look at some foggy pictures of London, like this one: The Thames above Waterloo Bridge by JMW Turner. Try using pastels or watercolours to create your own.
  • Try producing your own versions of lines of police officers in different poses, like the ones on the cover and endpapers.
  • Visit Steve Antony’s website to take a close-up look at some of the artwork. What is the effect of only using red, white, blue and black? Try making your own red, white, blue and black pictures.




Physical education

  • Try running a mini-marathon (or perhaps a mile).
  • Create a “map” of equipment and choose a different way to travel between each activity.


  • The police help the Queen in the story. In what other ways do the police help us? What other jobs are done to help us?

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