Queen Victoria's Bathing Machine by Gloria Whelan Machine Book Review

Queen Victoria's Bathing Machine by Gloria Whelan
Illustrations by Nancy Carpenter
Publisher: Paula Wiseman Books
Release Date: May 6, 2014

Queen Victoria desperately wants to go for a swim, however Victorian modesty concerns mean that getting into the water is a little bit tricky. In a stroke of genius, Prince Albert builds his wife a Bathing Machine that will allow her to go for a dip without anyone spying her in her bathing suit.

In a world where string bikinis aren't an uncommon sight at the beach, the Victorian world of modesty and manners seems almost foreign. Queen Victoria is depicted as more human than I am used to seeing her, surrounded by her children, and her loving husband and simply desperate for a good swim. Although the text never mentions Victoria's nine children, every page is a witness to their antics. The Bathing Machine isn't really a machine per se but rather a wheeled wagon, the mechanics of which are simply. The Queen (or bather) enters through the door where she is able to change in complete privacy. Then the "machine" is wheeled either by humans or horse into the water until it is a safe distance where the Queen can enter the water without her ankles or modesty being spied. When done, she can climb back into the machine, be wheeled to dry land, and change back into her clothes. I simply adored this book. It made me laugh out loud and there may have been a tear in my eye in the end.