The train of steampunk literature has been picking up speed, elaborately-wrought smokestacks belching out fine adventures at every whistle stop. Although some may decry the popularization of the genre, as long as it comes with more delicious, steamy books to devour, I say the more the merrier.
However, there is a gap in steampunk lit. Nanny Aubergine spends her afternoons with a Gail Carriger novel, Philomena adores Cherie Priest, and Adolphus wishes he could start Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series all over again. The twins favorite is the Larklight series, and Gerhardt just discovered The Nine Pound Hammer. But what about Bettina? Why are there no steampunk picture books?
Fear not, youngest steampunks, Steamduck to the rescue! Or rather, Emilie P. Bush and William Kevin Petty with their charming picture book, Her Majesty’s Explorer: a Steampunk Bedtime Story. Readers follow St. John Murphy Alexander, Automaton of Her Majesty, on a mission of exploration, then home to his regiment, where he gets ready for bed with a routine that your child will relate to (even if they don’t have to unscrew their ears every night). Our automaton hero is adorable, the illustrations by Petty are enchanting, with plenty of detail to interest readers of all ages. The book comes with a bonus poem, an ode to Steamduck which leaves the reader with only one question – where can I get my own steamduck for the bath?