Mrs. Armitage, Queen of the Road

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
She's biked (Mrs. Armitage on Wheels), she's surfed (Mrs. Armitage and the Big Wave) and this irrepressible heroine now climbs behind the wheel of a car-of sorts. When her Uncle Cosmo buys a motorcycle, he gives his "old car" to Mrs. Armitage. She comments to her "faithful dog," Breakspear, that "It doesn't look very exciting.... But we'll give it a try." Soon after the two take off in the vintage vehicle, it hits a hole in the road, sending the hubcaps flying. "Hubcaps... Who needs them?" says the nonchalant woman, who repeats this refrain when various collisions and calamities strip her car of fenders, bumpers, hood and roof. Finally, on a bumpy country road, the doors and trunk fall off as well, leaving but a silly skeleton of a car. Uncle Cosmo and his pals zoom onto the scene on their motorcycles, proclaim the vehicle "a fantastic machine" and present a selection of paraphernalia to the now hip biker-chick Mrs. Armitage, who (with Breakspear riding in the rear) leads the pack to the Crazy Duck Cafe for "a game of billiards and a can of banana fizz." Delightfully droll details in Blake's characteristically eccentric text and drawings keep this tale rolling along at a smooth clip. Readers will close the book chuckling-and hoping for Mrs. Armitage's reappearance in yet another mode of transport. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
When her Uncle Cosmo leaves her his car, Mrs. Armitage and her faithful canine companion, Breakspear, decide to go for a ride—even though it doesn't look all that exciting. A bumpy ride through the city leaves Mrs. Armitage and Breakspear without hubcaps, fenders, bumpers, a hood and even the roof. The agreeable Mrs. Armitage decides that the parts were not really necessary anyway, and she and Breakspear head for the country. The pattern continues in the country, and Mrs. Armitage is eventually left with just the frame of the car and the engine before running into Uncle Cosmo and his new friendly motorcycle gang. Impressed with her rather sparse-looking vehicle, the gang invites Mrs. Armitage to ride with them and partake in a tasty Banana Fizz at the Crazy Duck Café. Blake's active ink and watercolor illustrations work well with the playfulness of his story. 2003 (orig. 2003), Peachtree Publishers, Ages 4 to 8.
— Jared Reck
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Another delightful adventure about a quirky woman and her loyal canine companion. When Mrs. Armitage receives an old jalopy from her Uncle Cosmo, who has purchased a motorcycle, she tells her dog Breakspear, "It doesn't look very exciting-. But we'll give it a try." She encounters all sorts of road hazards, some because she is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, but others due to her own cheerful carelessness. The automobile is slowly and humorously stripped down, losing its hubcaps, fenders, bumpers, and roof in a ride around the city. When Mrs. Armitage drives out to the country, the car's trunk and doors disappear as well. By the time she bumps into Uncle Cosmo and his motorcycle buddies, the vehicle has been transformed into one impressive lean machine. The gang dresses Mrs. Armitage and Breakspear in leather and they roar off to the Crazy Duck Caf . The woman's fun-loving nature and her willingness to keep on traveling in the face of adversity make her a wonderful character. Blake's characteristic watercolor cartoons pair perfectly with the silly text, creating another marvelous story about this eccentric but lovable lady.-Shelley B. Sutherland, Niles Public Library District, IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
What could be more appealing than Mrs. Anastasia Armitage, sitting at table opposite her dog Breakspear of a morning, reading Uncle Cosmo's letter informing her that he's given her his old car. Tying back her silvery hair and wrapping a lavender scarf about her throat, she and Breakspear immediately lose the car's hubcaps by driving over a big hole in the road: "bing bong dang boing!" Fenders and bumpers are lost on the way to the junkyard, hood and roof soon after. As the two take off for the blissful countryside, all the doors and the trunk fall off. But then Uncle Cosmo appears on his new motorbike, with his new friends "Gizzy and Lulu, Ferdinando and Smudge." They outfit Mrs. Armitage-and what's left of the car-appropriately and all go off to the Crazy Duck Café. Blake does more with squiggly black pen strokes and near-random splotches of color wash than many illustrators could do with much more, and he's as giggle-inducing as they come. Excellent for read-alouds, and besides, it will remind you to pull out his Captain Najork stories once again. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561452873
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2003
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,481,066
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.18 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 7, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Quirky! Absolutely bizarre and quirky. Quentin Blake has taken h

    Quirky! Absolutely bizarre and quirky. Quentin Blake has taken his ink pen and water colors and given us in image and text a cute, quirky little lady who is gifted a car. Well, more a rattletrap vehicle of the 4-wheel version. Once given to her, Mrs. Armitage and devoted dog, Breakspear, hop on board and roll down the road.

    Each "bump in the road" shakes off a piece of the car as she rolls along. What does she do? Despair? No. She simply throws the troublesome piece away and keeps rolling along. (What can we learn from life with this tidbit?) In one scene (two-page spread of delightful imagery), she is rolling along and still has the sides of the car intact. Here is the story line on that page....
    "Breakspear," said Mrs. Armitage, "I think it is time for us to get out of this town." They went down a side road into the country. All around then were trees, and the birds were singing."
    "Breakspear," said Mrs. Armitage, "this is blissful." 

    This is a fun book and will be an opportunity for teaching "making do" with what you're given and also acceptance of the "bumps in the road of life." The book is, I am sure, fully intended to be an entertainment and light-hearted little read for the young and young-in-heart, yet sometimes it is good to also read between the lines, so to speak.

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