World-renowned swimmer and bestselling author Lynne Cox and Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator Brian Floca team up to bring us this inspiring story of an elephant seal who knew exactly where she belonged.
Here is the incredible story of Elizabeth, a real-life elephant seal who made her home in the Avon River in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. When Elizabeth decides to stretch out across a two-lane road, the citizens worry she might get hurt or cause traffic accidents, so a group of volunteers tows her out to sea. But Elizabeth swims all the way back to Christchurch. The volunteers catch her again and again - each time towing her farther, even hundreds of miles away - but, still, Elizabeth finds her way back home.
Includes background information about elephant seals.
Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas is a children's picture book based on the story of an elephant seal that made Christchurch's Avon River her home. Although the book is about New Zealand the author Lynne Cox is an American. This means that it is an American version of a New Zealand legend. The American twist was evident in the use of imperial measurements to describe Elizabeth and also a car's fender (bumper to us Kiwis).
This book quickly became my four year old daughter's favorite bedtime story. She could tell you every detail about Elizabeth. I was surprised how much she enjoyed the last page of the book which was factual information about elephant seals and a photograph of the real Elizabeth. I think for both her and I the book had more appeal because Elizabeth was real.
It is a picture book for 4-6 year olds. I read it to a three year old and she sat through it but only because Miss 4 was so excited about it next to her. My eldest daughter (turning 6) enjoyed the story and happily listen to it each time her little sister requested it but she didn't pick it off the shelf herself.
I loved the illustrations that Brian Flora has done. I think they are done with water colours. This really suits the sky and water. The thing that both Miss 4 and I love best is the facial expressions on Elizabeth. She has a heart warming smile without becoming a cartoon character. There is one page where it is filled with a head shot of Elizabeth and Miss 4 always comments on how cute or happy Elizabeth is there.
This is certainly a heart warming tale of a boy's friendship for an animal. It is also about how one animal can change a city. Christchurch today could really do with another Elizabeth to lift their spirits through the rebuild. I really have loved this book and learnt a bit more about elephant seals while reading it. Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas is well worth a read.
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