Queen Vernita's Visitors is the first installment in a series of five books by author Dawn Menge. (I previously reviewed the second book, Queen Vernita Visits the Blue Ice Mountains.) In this book, Queen Vernita is feeling lonely in her castle in Oceaneer and misses her friends from the land of Quails. She decides to send out invitations to twelve of her friends, inviting each one to spend a month with her.
Each one of her friends comes for an entire month, and they develop a weekly routine of fun that corresponds with the season. At the end of the book, Debbie, who visited in January, arrives again, allowing for the book to naturally cycle back into itself, representing the cycle of a year.
Each month has its own page detailing their adventures. "On Mondays they....On Tuesdays they...." Activities are seasonally appropriate. The number of days in each month is mentioned as a learning tool. Days of the week and the fact that there are twelve months until the month comes about again are repeated on each page, emphasizing the concepts for learning. Topics include indoor and outdoor games, flowers, apples, pumpkins, fall fun, turkey, and snow.
Vibrant illustrations by Bobbi Switzer illustrate caricatures of the friends and family about whom Menge writes her stories.
The book won an EVVY award from the Colorado Independent Publishers' Association and a Reader Views Literary Award.
The book can be used best as a learning tool in a classroom. It is a little long for reading to a group of really young children, but each page can be used as an independent lesson, or basis for further study. Children could also be asked to create their own activity agenda for each month of the year.
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Andrea Coventry is a reviewer for Bookpleasures.com.