Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Queen Vernita's Visitors

Queen Vernita's Visitors is a children's picture book designed to teach children about the calendar by counting down the months of the years and days of the week. However, author Dawn Menge and illustrator Bobbi Switzer managed to come up with a dull book, both in the storyline and the pictures.

Queen Vernita is lonely in her majestic world of Oceaneer, so she invites twelve friends to visit for a month at a time. Each month, with a new friend, the events they share are listed day by day. When Debbie visited, "On Mondays, they played jolly jump rope. On Tuesdays, they played juggling jacks." In March, when Dana came to visit, "On Mondays, they played Monster Bash. On Tuesdays, they played twisted Twistee." It's quite boring to read the events, day after day, month after month. I do understand that children like repetition, but there is so much repetition that the author has to make up games no one will understand. What is "cosmic bowling", ""Sink the Ball" or "Freeze Machine"? And, I think the author ran out of ideas because she repeated sleeping on the lawn and watching the stars.

The ilustrator did nothing to make the book more appealing. The colors used are muddy and dark, while the characters are positively ugly and unappealing. Queen Vernita could be quite frightening, since she's so ugly, and there's one page with her friend Ashlie in which both characters look like caricatures.

The concept of Queen Vernita's Visitors was to teach children about the calendar, the months of the year, and days of the week. I can't recommend this book, despite its admirable purpose. The boring repetition and the dull illustrations will not appeal to children.

Dawn Menge's website is

Queen Vernita's Visitors by Dawn Menge. Outskirts Press, Inc., ©2008. ISBN 978-1-59800-714-5 (paperback), 36p.


Anonymous said...

Were you expecting to learn something new about the months of the year you didn't already know? I have had my young son read the book to me and has demonstrated that the repetition facilitates his commitment of these concepts to memory. I would expect that a children's book that has been written for that developmental stage and that has shown positive results in application of its concepts has proven to be a success. I don't believe that its particularly rational for an adult to expect to be entertained by a book written as a learning tool for such young children, but then of course I can't speak for a reviewers developmental stage. Queen Vernita is beautiful.

Lesa said...

Thank you for your comment. No, I didn't expect to learn anything new. I expected a book with better illustrations, and one that wasn't quite so boring. However, maybe that speaks to my developmental stage. I didn't find Queen Vernita beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Do you even have young children? My three yr old loved this book! Repetition is one of the building blocks of learning for toddlers. Oh and i had a lot of fun cosmic bowling last week, because it is, in fact, a real game. Maybe you should stop leaving bad reviews and go play it sometime.

-Jake Stanton