Her Majesty's Explorer is about an adventurous, but gentle, automaton named St. John Murphy Alexander. St. John's job is to explore for the Queen.
He sets out in the morning, clean and well-rested, and ready for weeks of exploration (he is an automaton, after all, and has no need to stop to rest like a human). During his adventure, he visits a variety of landscapes, meets all sorts of creatures, and pays attention to all the wonders of nature he sees.
Then he returns to his regiment to report his observations. After so many days of journeying, St. John needs to refresh himself with some nourishing oil and grease, clean his outfit, and get all the dust and dirt (even insects!) out of his gears. He finally crawls into bed for a good night's rest, dreaming of the wonders he encountered during his explorations. In the morning, he will wake up and do it once more.
This bedtime story captures the essence of what it is to be a child, wide-eyed and innocent, and seeing the world for the first time; how children have the energy to stay on the go all day long, seeing and doing all they can. It is a sweet tale, with lovely illustrations.
The cute little Steamduck appears at the end in a poem - another mechanical explorer determined to see the world. There is also a "Seek and Find" toward the back, so children can revisit the story and try to match up the pictures.
This lovely little work is not just an introduction to steampunk, but a tribute to the characteristically inquisitive nature of children.
Copyright (c) 2012 Wendy L. Callahan