Sporting Union Jack boxer shorts and white knickers, this is William and Kate as you have never seen them before -- in a book of children's paper dolls, the latest trend in royal wedding souvenirs.
Targeting a group that is unlikely to be drawn in by the traditional commemorative mugs or tea towels, British publishers have created a plethora of books to capture children's attention ahead of the April 29 wedding.
AdvertisementAside from the paper dolls, there will be two new Mr. Men books about "Little Miss Princess", countless stories about weddings and princes, and colourful scrapbooks to help little girls remember the special day forever.
The second wife of Prince William's father Charles, Camilla, has revealed that she has been reading one of the clutch of new publications to help her granddaughter Eliza, three, prepare for being a bridesmaid on the big day.
"Angelina and the Royal Wedding" is the latest in a highly successful series about a ballet-dancing mouse -- although it may not be the best example for Eliza, as the protagonist is so busy playing that she almost misses the ceremony.
"They're hugely popular, those books!" said a sales assistant at Waterstone's booksellers.
Handing over yet another copy of the paper doll book, she remarked: "Children want it, and adults buy it because they think it's fun."
The book includes figures of Kate and William which can be cut out and dressed with paper outfits, such as the blue dress the bride-to-be wore when she announced her engagement, a long pink ball gown and a pale green day dress.
Readers can even dress up Kate in her wedding outfit -- a traditional white gown with a long white veil -- despite the actual design being kept under wraps by Buckingham Palace until she steps into Westminster Abbey.
Ladybird books, a subsidiary of the publishers Penguin, refused to say how many copies of the paper dolls they had sold but a spokeswoman said there had been "huge interest" around the world.
Another book offers readers the tantalising offer that "You Can Be Princess Catherine's Bridesmaid". It is a scrapbook for pictures about the royal wedding and also provides space to design the invitations and pick out the flowers.
"It usually requires 13 months to make a children's book, so this had to be rushed," said Elaine McQuade of Piccadilly Press. "What we're hoping is that children are going to keep it as a scrap book and a memento."
Piccadilly has also reissued a 2004 novel for teenage girls called "A Royal Match", which tells the story of an ordinary girl who meets and falls in love with the prince of England -- just as Kate did.
The royal wedding also coincides neatly with the publication of "Little Miss Princess", number 34 in the hugely popular "Mr. Men" series by Adam Hargreaves, which was commissioned to mark the books' 40th anniversary this year.
The eponymous heroine lives in a castle with turrets and a moat, but gets into trouble when she tries to help out her friends with their chores.
A colouring book in the series, which has sold more than 100 million books worldwide, will also be published next month under the title "Little Miss Princess and the Very Special Wedding".
"Of course I am hopeful that this will also put me in good stead to pen the next royal biography!" Hargreaves joked.
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