Thursday, February 6, 2014

Queenie: One Elephant's Story

When a children's book moves you to tears, you know it must be something special. Last week we borrowed Queenie: One Elephant's Story from the library and I know this moving story will stay with me long after reading it.

This is a moving true story that takes us back to the early 1900s and shares the life of an Indian elephant that was captured by hunters and transported to the Melbourne Zoo. The elephant was given the name Queenie and when she was old enough to carry passengers she began giving rides around the zoo. Queenie was a gentle elephant who tirelessly carried patrons for almost 40 years. On some days she would carry more than 500 people! 

For decades she was the zoo's main attraction and she was much loved by her keepers and the patrons who came from everywhere to ride on her back and every year they celebrated Queenie's birthday with a cake. By 1945 times were tough and with fodder shortages due to the war and the tragic death of her keeper, the zoo could no longer keep Queenie and so her story sadly ends.

Queenie was fondly loved and remembered by generations of children and adults alike and thanks to Corinne Fenton's passion for the story, new generations will get to know Queenie's story too. Along with Gouldthorpe's beautiful illustrations, reminiscent of photographs and postcards of that era, Queenie's story is lovingly brought to life.

A powerful and poignant nonfiction picture book that would be ideal for children ages 6-8 years. 

Book Details:
Author: Corrine Fenton
Illustrator: Peter Gouldthorpe
Publisher: Black Dog Books
Publication Date: 2006
ISBN: 9781876372972


  1. Her story ends? Did the zoo kill her?

  2. It seems so crazy, particularly in light of the effort that goes into finding new homes for zoo animals now the zoo can't care for them. But then I wonder if untinf elephants for sport was a thing then or not

  3. It was certainly a tragedy. The controversy surrounding the crushing of the keeper played a part but I think we have come a long way in regards to animal rights since the 1940s (but still have a long way to go).

  4. Stopping in from the kid lit blog hop!

  5. Thanks for dropping by Savannah. I hope your day is full of bookish delights :)

  6. Omigosh - your review brought me to tears!! This book sounds absolutely wonderful. thanks so much for sharing it in the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

  7. This reminds me of The One and Only Ivan. I will be on the lookout for it. Thanks so much for sharing at the Kid Lit Blog Hop!