Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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Friday reviews are back, starting with an adorable true seal story! Back in June, our Perfect Picture Book blogging community celebrated:

  • 100 weeks of fabulous picture books with resources of all kinds to make them easy for parents and teachers to use at home and in the classroom!
  • 100 weeks of highly recommended books listed alphabetically and by theme to make it easy for gift-givers to find the perfect picture book for that special little someone!
  • 100 weeks of perfect examples that we, as writers, can study and learn from!
  • To date, we have picture books listed in 226 themes/categories.
  • And we have – get this! – 2055 Perfect Picture Books on our list!!!

For a look at our entire list, please check out Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog, here.

elizTitle: Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas

Written By: Lynne Cox

Illustrated By: Brian Floca

Published By: Schwarz & Wade, 2014, Fiction

Suitable For Ages: 3-7

Themes/Topics: elephant seal, perseverance, true story

Opening: There once was a lovely elephant seal who lived in the city. 

Synopsis: Elizabeth is an elephant seal who lived in Christchurch, New Zealand in the fresh waters of the Avon River. When she wanted a nap she’d stretch out in the grass and toss lumps of cool mud onto her back with her flippers to cool off. The townspeople, being a royalist bunch, found strong, regal comparisons with the Queen of England and this named the seal Elizabeth. Elizabeth was well loved but concern for her safety grew when she was discovered basking on a two-lane highway in the city. A majority of townsfolk felt she would be safer and happier far away in the ocean with other elephant seals. Each time they transported Elizabeth further from Christchurch she found her way back to her city home. Ultimately Elizabeth was welcomed back and the city found ways to ensure her safe stay! This story was told to the author of this picture book, herself a renowned swimmer, by two children on her visit to the city.

Why I like this book: How could I not love a true story about a seal with such fierce determination to return to her chosen home, even if it meant long distance swimming and being apart from her peers? It is also so meaningful that the narrator is herself has set records for her legendary open-water swimming. Brian Flocca’s personalization of Elizabeth and endearing city and seascapes make this a magical story for children. A great message from such an unusually determined seal shows home is where you want it to be. The back includes a page of information about elephant seals as well as a photo of the real Elizabeth on the side of the road in Christchurch!


Two websites the book recommends are: topp.org and national geographic.com/animals/elephant-seal.html.

This pinterest board is full of seal craft activities.

Bright Hub Education has some lesson plans to teach preschoolers about seals, here.

Artists Helping Children has two seal craft projects, here.

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17 Responses to Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. I so love this book. Thank you for featuring it, Joanna!

  2. Joanna says:

    You are so welcome. It’s the kind of picture book I want to hug!

  3. A seal named ELIZABETH? You had me right there. This sounds like an excellent book on many levels — talking about habitat, elephant seals, different species learning to coexist, home is where you flip your flippers, giving kids around the world a little taste of New Zealand, so many things — wonderful.

  4. This story about the seal Elizabeth captivated me because it’s true. Elizabeth is a city seal and love and protected. Kids will love this. The illustrations look lovely!

  5. Andrea says:

    I haven’t seen this one yet, but it sounds great! Thanks for featuring it.

  6. Joanna says:

    Andrea, it tugs on the heart!

  7. rhythm says:

    This looks like a very special story. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I have a weakness for true animal stories. And seals are one of those adorable creatures that you can’t help but love. 🙂 Glad to see your PPBF posts again!

  9. I haven’t seen this book yet, Joanna, but it looks delightful! Thanks so much for sharing. Time to fire up my library list again 🙂

  10. Great review! This sounds awesome and inspiring! 🙂

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