Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas

Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas

Lynne Cox
Illustrator:  Brian Floca 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Random House, 2014   ISBN: 978-0375858888

Most elephant seals live in the ocean, resting in groups on rocky and sandy beaches, but there was one elephant seal who preferred to live in a very different sort of environment. This seal chose to swim up the Avon River in New Zealand and she came to live in the city of Christchurch. The people of Christchurch knew that she was special, so they named her Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas. Their Elizabeth was “strong and powerful and regal” so they named her after Elizabeth, the Queen of England.

   All went well until the day when Elizabeth decided to nap in the middle of a road. The large twelve hundred pound animal almost got hit by several cars and the people of Christchurch, who were fond of their largest resident, decided that it would be best if Elizabeth was taken back to the ocean to live with her seal kin. There she would be safe, and motorists would not have to worry about encountering her as they drove around the city. A team of volunteers captured Elizabeth and towed her back to the ocean. One little boy, Michael, was very sad to see Elizabeth go. He was sure that Elizabeth belonged in Christchurch, and he was not the only one who thought so.

   This is the true story of an elephant seal who chose to live in a city instead of living with her own kind. Elizabeth became a celebrity of sorts and a little boy called Michael shared the story of the seal with the author when she was visiting New Zealand. Young readers will be delighted when they find out how Elizabeth ends up having the last word.

   At the back of the book readers will find further information about southern elephant seals.