Thursday, June 5, 2014

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas

by Lynne Cox, illustrated by Brian Floca

Long distance, open water swimmer Lynne Cox visited New Zealand in 1983. While walking along the Avon river in Christchurch, a boy named Michael and his sister Maggie asked her if she was looking for Elizabeth. Lynne spent the rest of the day talking with them about the famous elephant seal (sea elephant as the kiwis call them) that lived in the river and had been named in honor of the Queen of England

It turns out that having a 2,000 pound mammal residing in your city can be a bit of a challenge to public safety, especially when they like to lie in the middle of nice warm roads. The New Zealand wildlife managers decided to relocate her to a nearby elephant seal colony.

To everyone's amazement, she returned to the banks of the Avon again and again. The people of Christchurch became so attached to Elizabeth that the city decided that it was better to adjust the behavior of people to Elizabeth's presence than to try to make her change her behavior.

Lynne Cox' new book Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas tells the lovely story of Elizabeth and Michael's ongoing friendship (sadly, Maggie is left out of the story). Each time Elizabeth is taken away, Michael longs to see her again and every time she returns, they are delighted to be reunited. Brian Floca's lovingly realistic illustrations bring the story to life. My son particularly delighted in the image of Elizabeth tossing huge clumps of mud onto her back.

On the final page of Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas, there is a brief discussion of the natural history of elephant seals, describing their eating habits, life cycle, habitat, etc. This sweet story is a definite keeper for anyone interested in fostering a love of the natural world and encouraging people to find a way to live in harmony with the world around us.

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas, by Lynne Cox, illustrated by Brian Floca

No comments:

Post a Comment