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.
Author: Corrine Fenton
Illustrator: Peter Gouldthorpe
Publisher: Black Dog Books
Publication Date: 2006