Regal Beagle by Vijay Khurana

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Ill. by Simon Greiner. Random House Australia Children's, 2014. ISBN: 9780857983701
Highly recommended for readers 7-9 particularly, both boys and girls. What a delight it was to spend a few moments reading this delightful nonsensical piece of whimsy from Vijay Khurana at the end of a long tiring day! This is a perfect little book for newly independent readers venturing into chapter books with a lot of fun, easily identifiable 'goodies' and 'baddies' plus a very insightful example of not judging on appearances alone.
When a very much loved Queen of a small kingdom dies leaving no heir, the country is temporarily at a loss as to their next move. Searching through long forgotten archives, the protocol is discovered. Should the ruling monarch die without an heir, the throne goes to the king or queen's best friend. In this case, the Queen's best friend is Lucy - her beagle.
Despite the protestations of the conniving and clearly nefarious Lord Runcible, who has his own designs on the crown, Lucy is duly crowned and begins her reign with impressive success, despite being a canine. However, Runcible contrives a dastardly plan to remove Lucy and seize power for himself. As one might imagine, Lucy is rescued by a most unlikely saviour - but that would be a spoiler if I told you, so you will just need to read it for yourself.
Very much in the vein of the Dick King-Smith books (such a long-time favourite of mine and, I know, of many children) this really is a refreshing and enjoyable read. I think it would make an excellent read-aloud for classes of smaller humans as well as a terrific take-home book for those who are spreading their reading wings.
As I've said to many students over the years - often you need a 'lolly' book. A break from the intense or well-meaning texts with layers of meaning - not that there is anything wrong with those at all. This week, this was my 'lolly' book - sweet and satisfying.
Sue Warren