Saturday, September 5, 2009

Queen Vernita Visits the Blue Ice Mountains

Queen Vernita Visits the Blue Ice Mountains is the sequel to Dawn Menge's book Queen Vernita's Visitors. In this book, Queen Vernita is spending a year visitng the Blue Mountains, and wishes to explore them with her friends. She invites one friend per month to stay with her for a week, exploring local flora and fauna.

The story is written to reinforce the months of the year, as one friend visits per month. It is also written to reinforce the days of the week, as each day brings about a new discovery. It provides a wealth of information about crabs, sea otters, glaciers, wildflowers, whales, eagles, bears, rainforests, Aurora Borealis, seals, oceans, and the North Pole.

The amount of information and words on each page could be overwhelming to very young children. It would be more appropriate for slightly older children who are looking for a bit of information as a foundation for later research. Or, the teacher could read it through once, then later focus on one page at a time. Numerous units could be taught, using this book as a foundation.

The timing of the storyline is also a little confusing. One fact is learned each day. "On Monday they learned....On Tuesday they learned...." But the visits are supposed to be for an entire month. If you're paying close attention to the words, it sounds like the one week has actually stretched out over an entire month. Perhaps children won't pick up on that particular technicality.

At the end, Queen Vernita returns to her home, only to meet two friends who are irrelevant to the rest of the story. Their purpose seems to indicate a sequel story that will be written at a later date. One previous story about Queen Vernita already exists. Perhaps they are characters from that book? I haven't yet read it. I am assuming that Menge is hoping to turn this into a full series.

The illustrations by Bobbi Switzer are quite vibrant, which will make them easily seen if the book is read in front of a class. As the book's characters are meant to be based upon Dawn Menge's friends and family, the illustrations do seem to be caricatures of real-life people.

I shared this book with some children I know. The kindergartner enjoyed the book, as well as all of its illustrations. The teenager wasn't as sure. This just shows that sometimes the opinions of adults matter less than the younger audience for whom the book was intended.

Buy Queen Vernita Visits the Blue Ice Mountains

Andrea Coventry is a book reviewer for

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