Review: The Duchess of Whimsey, by Randall and Peter de Seve

Some books touch the soul. Some books tickle the funny-bone. Some books delight the eyes and ears without fail.

I have found a book that does ALL THREE!

Now, perhaps my opinion might seem biased when I tell you that the Duchess of Whimsey reminded my husband of yours truly, the Earl of Norm seemed uncannily similar to my husband… and it all focused around a delicious grilled cheese sandwich.

To my friends from Hillsdale, yes, you read that correctly. Grilled cheese sandwich. My favorite college lunch of all time in given its due honor in this lovely book by Randall and Peter de Seve.

According to the first page… ahem…

“The Duchess of Whimsey invites you to a soiree – a most unusual party – with some most unusual guests.”

She delights in “extravagant soirees… elaborate attire… uncommon conversation… most peculiar pets and acquaintances.”

The Earl of Norm could not be further from the description. “The Earl of Norm was as normal as they come,”, complete with “ordinary clothes… ordinary dog…and discussed, with great seriousness, ordinary things.” Oh, he tries gallantly to stand out, to be extraordinary, but the lovely Duchess is not convinced. For the Early loved the Duchess, and the Duchess’ father wanted to the two kingdoms to be friendly. So, the ordinary Earl is invited to the extravagant feasts, where he gives it his all to stand out in the eyes of the beautiful duchess. For he, “loved her joie de vivre”. 

One day, the cook takes ill just before a feast. So all of the guests jump into the challenge with a will, attempting to make watercress salad, velvet midnight cake with spun sugar stars, and even truffle canapes. Unfortunately, the poor Earl has no cooking skill, so he makes the one thing he knows how to do by himself: a grilled cheese sandwich and a glass of milk.

The hungry Duchess looks down her nose at first… But the grilled cheese… and the glass of milk… “How could something so ordinary look so good?”

Being a gentleman, the Earl offers her a bite…

I quite agree with the Duchess. “It was delicious! It was delectable! It was Divine!”

This, of course, broke the ice. Turns out, the Earl is not so normal afterall. And the Duchess enjoys quiet.

And they live happily ever after.

Usually, I try not to give spoilers… but this story is so delightful, and the pictures so wonderful, that I couldn’t help myself.

I know my husband won’t read this, because he doesn’t have facebook or a blog or anything, so I don’t mind saying this here.

Sometimes, to the eyes of the world, you seem normal, quite, ordinary, a gentleman.

In my eyes, you are strong, kind, gentle, funny, brave, self-sacrificing, and an excellent cook of grilled cheese sandwiches.

(Alright, enough of the mush! Fine. Here are pictures.)


The Duchess of Whimsey
The Earl of Norm, and the DELICIOUS grilled cheese sandwich
Quite “extraordinary”

(Thomas adds, “Holy cow, he even SITS like I do!”)

The Duchess of Whimsey

3 thoughts on “Review: The Duchess of Whimsey, by Randall and Peter de Seve

    1. I think Tater would thoroughly enjoy it, if he knew before hand that it was a silly, whimsical tale. Roo would find the pictures hilarious, and would probably demand a grilled cheese sandwich… 🙂

  1. We checked it out of the library, and Sonja enjoyed it. I will bring it the next time we stop by, and we can see if they enjoy it. BTW, another book that you all may enjoy is called An Ambush of Tigers, by Betsy Rosenthal, and I will bring it too. Brooke, you will just have to look it up yourself. It is a lovely picture book with lines like this- ” When a murder of crows leaves barely a trace, is a sleuth of bears hot on the case?”

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