E.S. Redmond’s The Unruly Queen tells the tale of Minerva von Vyle, an unmanageable and impish little girl who refuses to obey any rules or do as she’s told. Through colorfully detailed illustrations, we learn how Minerva draws on walls and jumps on beds, throws her food to the floor and insists on plates of candy for dinner, refuses to go to sleep and dares to stay up all night. Week after week Minerva exasperates every new nanny that walks through her doors, until nanny number 53 arrives with a Mary Poppins type of demeanor—confident and cunning enough to correct Minerva’s incorrigible ways.
The fifty-third nanny crowns Minerva the Queen of Petulant Peak, donning her knot-filled hair with a lovely crown that Minerva feels truly suits her. But as Nanny delightfully explains the awful details of ruling such a messy and disruptive place, Minerva begins to protest the idea of being a queen that would be fit for such a kingdom. She insists on brushing her teeth and the knots on her head, putting on pajamas and going to bed, and taking a bath without being led. Minerva does everything she’s expected to do even before she’s told while Nanny simply expresses worry that Minerva is shaping up to be a girl not fit to be queen. This playful display of reverse psychology is a funny little tale with a pleasant rhyme that any young reader will enjoy. Parents will enjoy it as well, and could possibly discover a few tricks to tame terrifically wild tantrums. They may even recognize a few techniques they’ve used themselves.