3rd December - The Queen's Handbag

Advent Calendar Day 3

For the 12 days of advent, Rising Stars are bringing you a fantastic English lesson plan idea to use with your pupils. Today's is based on Steve Antony's The Queen's Handbag. You can buy the book for your class here

Our thanks to Maddy Barnes, Assistant Head Teacher at Sacred Heart Catholic School and English Consultant. 

English Grid

Objectives to be taught      



KS2 GaPS Content Domain:

G1:7 Prepositions expressing time, place and cause using prepositions (e.g. before, after, during, in, because of) 

According to the NC appendix, prepositions are introduced in year 3 and pupils are expected to use the terminology accurately. This book tells the tale of the Queen’s Handbag and where she travels to find it.

Teachers could share the simple text with year 3 pupils and discuss the different verbs. Why would she drive to Windsor Castle and dive to Snowdonia? Why would she cycle to Oxford and gallop to Edinburgh Castle? There may not be a reason for these but pupils will be able to share their opinions.

Teachers could ask pupils to add an adverb to each sentence to give the reader more information, for example:

  • She drove carefully after it to…

  • She cycled cautiously after it to…

Each page uses a different verb, but repeats phrases that include prepositions, for example:

  • She drove after it to…

  • She rode after it to…

  • She flew after it to…

  • She cycled after it to…

  • She dived after it to…

  • She sped after it to…

  • She chugged after it to…

  • She galloped after it to…

Year 3 & 4 NC Composition:

Pupils should plan their writing by:

  • discussing writing similar to that which they are planning to write in order to understand and learn from its structure, vocabulary and grammar 

This book is about the Queen losing her handbag and her quest to find it, ‘The Queen was ready for her tour of Great Britain when… swoosh! A sneaky swan swooped off with her handbag! The swan was fast, but so was the Queen. She drove after it to… Windsor Castle’. The Queen then has a whirlwind tour around Great Britain to be reunited with her handbag.

Teachers could read the book with pupils a number of times until they were very familiar with the language. Pupils could then write their own version changing the person involved, the thief and the place the book was set. 

Some ideas to model to pupils:

Usain Bolt – running shoe stolen – by a crocodile – in Jamaica.

Barack Obama – special pen stolen – by a bald eagle – in USA.

Lionel Messi – football boot stolen – by a puma – in Argentina.

Pupils could be more abstract and choose examples such as:

  • A patient’s cough

  • A scientist’s mind

  • A politician’s voice

  • A ballerina’s steps


Maddy Barnes, Assistant Head Teacher at Sacred Heart Catholic School and English Consultant. 


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