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Queen Victoria's Bathing Machine
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Queen Victoria's Bathing Machine

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  545 ratings  ·  125 reviews
Prince Albert comes up with a royally creative solution to Queen Victoria’s modesty concerns in this true story that reveals an overlooked splash of history.

Poor Queen Victoria! She loves to swim, but can’t quite figure out how to get to the water without her devoted subjects glimpsing her swimming suit. (Because, of course, such a sight would compromise her regal dignity.
Audiobook, 40 pages
Published May 6th 2014 by Simon Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (first published February 4th 2014)
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3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  545 ratings  ·  125 reviews

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Nov 13, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: (With Caveat) Children Interested in Queen Victoria and/or Silly Stories
Queen Victoria longs to go swimming in the sea in this amusing picture-book, told in rhyme. As it would be scandalous for any of her subjects to see her in any fashion undressed, the idea is at first rejected, until Prince Albert puts his mind to the question, and comes up with an ingenious solution. And so the bathing machine, a rolling structure that will shield his wife and queen from prying eyes on the beach, and take her down into the water while preserving her modesty, is invented...

On the
Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book, and I learned some tidbits of info about Queen Victoria. BUT, the book is too brief; a few more pages would have made it more meaningful for young readers. For example, there easily could have been a page showing the kids playing in the water while the Queen looked on enviously. (I'm itching to revise this book!)
Feb 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Charming! Adults will like this one as much or more than the kids. Bathing machines are an interesting historical side trip. Kids won't get why she didn't want to be seen in a "bathing costume." This could lead to an interesting discussion of social mores.
Monica Edinger
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delightful. But I'm prejudiced as I can't get enough of Victorian bathing machines. In Alice's Adventure in Wonderland there is a quick aside about them and so I always like to stop to tell the kids just what they are and why the existed. A couple of die-harder Lewis Carroll Society members self-published an adorable book featuring their collection of bathing machine ephemera. And so this was just adorable. I liked both text and art. Great fun!
Laura Salas
Sep 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
What a fun book! The meter doesn't work in some spots, but this historical fiction picture book version of this real-life event is so fun that the meter issues didn't bother me as much as they usually would. Great topic! Fun approach!
Courtney Barter
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kidlit
I liked that the book's pages rhymed. I was not a fan of the busy illustrations though. I did enjoy the story line, however. Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People
May 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
A rhyming picture book based on the bathing machine used by Queen Victoria. Humorous illustrations and informative rhymes provide an entertaining introduction to Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and England during her reign.
Lin Lin
Reading this book together with my son brought smiles back to his face. A wonderful story to share with children under 10 years old and it is based on a real story about Queen Victoria, who wished to swim in the ocean during her reign.
Edward Sullivan
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Lively, fun story about Queen Victoria's inventive husband Prince Albert devising a cart to be wheeled into the surf so she can maintain her modesty changing into her bathing costume and step into the water hidden from nosy onlookers.
I read this book and enjoyed it before I noticed it is authored by Gloria Whelan. No wonder it is a good book! I love the rhyming text; and I have read that Prince Albert was quite ingenious with design and architecture. I thoroughly enjoyed the book from start to finish.
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Glorious fun in a picture book. Rhyming but informative text about a true invention that helped Queen Victoria swim in the sea without showing everyone her knees.
Maggie Mattmiller
May 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What a fun story told through poetry/rhyme! And it's based on truth! Kids will really enjoy this one! (And enjoy the pictures!)
Apr 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Delightful and fun. I'd heard about her bathing machine before but this book brought such life to the story.
May 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Delightful, educational, silly, and fun!
Kris Dersch
If not even the incomparable Gloria Whelan can *really* make a picture book rhyme that scans, maybe we should just all stop doing it. Seriously. It was better than most, for sure, but even this one had me cringing in spots. Say it with me: you tell a better story 90% of the time if you're not focused on rhyming. And this story is hilarious so the rhyme *really* isn't needed and only gets in the way.
That said, it was a cute book, the author's note is great and the illustrations are funny. It's a
Donna Mork
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Based on a true story. The queen cannot be seen by common folk, but she wants to swim. Prince Albert devices a little house on wheels where she can go in, change, and then the house will go into the water so she can get into the ocean without being seen. After she died many years later, they used the house for a chicken coup, but at least the decided to restore it to its original condition and it is on display.
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens-lit
Stories told in rhyme are usually a miss with me. Picked this up due to my obsession with all things Victoria and Albert. This book details Albert's invention of the "bathing machine" which is really more of a carriage that was taken into the sea so that women could change into swimming clothes and enter the water without being exposed.
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
An entertaining read showing young readers a gimps into the life of Queen Victoria and the obstacles that propriety placed on her royal highness, which prevent her from doing even something so simple as enjoying a dip in the ocean.

Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A loving and charming book. I imagine the Queen, Prince Albert and her family would smile for the happy scene the author and illustrator created. I love the relationship between the story and the illustrations. Thanks to all who worked on this. What a fun read.
Solange Guillen
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“You enter the back door wearing all of your clothes.
Off comes your dress, off come your rings,
off come all those unmentionable things.
You put on your suit as quick as can be
and the bathing machine will roll into the sea.”

Lovely narrative of Queen Victoria’s bathing machine.
Whimsical and fun, tells the story of Prince Albert building a cart that allowed Queen Victoria to swim in the ocean without being seen indecent by her subjects. Artwork is fabulous with many details of their 9 children. Written on rhyme, the story is delightful.
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This picture book paints a clear picture, of what wanting to swim must have been like for a queen, with whimsical rhymes. The author's note in the back goes into more depth and shows a picture of the actual Bathing Machine.
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was so fun to learn about and the illustrations were so fun as well.
Kelsey Yates
Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: volume-4-history
Rhyming text with ridiculous illustrations of a true story.
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Prince Albert is awesome.
Lynn Hart
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Delightful! My six year old asked to read it over and over.
A cute telling of Queen Victoria’s bathing machine.
Marissa Ellis
May 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
While this book has fun illustrations and text, its storyline is quite outdated.

Guided Reading: J
Lexile: 500
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
What do queens do when they want to go for a swim?

6/6/19 Read with Naomi, Julia, Micah, and Skylar for our Summer Book Club
Seung Lee
Jan 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Was a cute book that teaches something about history. My five year old probably did not understand the historical significance, but it was okay. It was still funny to him.
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Gloria Whelan is the best-selling author of many novels for young readers, including Homeless Bird, winner of the National Book Award; Friutlands: Louisa May Alcott Made Perfect; Angel on the Square and its companion, The Impossible Journey; Once on this Island, winner of the Great Lakes Book Award; Farewell to the Island; and Return to the Island. She lives with her husband, Joseph, in the woods ...more