Queen Vernita's Visitors

Children - Concept
36 Pages
Reviewed on 10/21/2014
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite

Queen Vernita's Visitors by Dawn Menge is a charming story of Queen Vernita of the majestic world called Oceaneer. She lived in a beautiful castle that was covered with ivy and roses. She misses her friends from the land of Quails. The Queen invites 12 special friends during each month of the year. The Queen has activities chalked out for the days of the week to do with each of them. The book teaches kids a lot of new concepts and the repetition helps them to remember the days of the week. It is an educational book that is helpful for parents, teachers and educators to teach children the months, weeks and seasons through Queen Vernita's whimsical adventures.

The story is refreshing and the plot is original. The colorful illustrations complement the story beautifully and give the story and scenes movement and life. It is a perfect book for read aloud sessions in school libraries and classrooms. Parents and grandparents can also use this as a bedtime story book. New ideas are taught to children through the story. Children's books with a concept are the best way to teach them. Seasons, months and days of the week are taught cleverly through the story. Queen Vernita and her friends will entertain young readers till the very end with their exciting schedule. Let's all join the Queen and her friends in their wonderful adventure.

Sarah Moore

As the mother of a preschooler, I am always looking for new books to stir up my daughter's imagination. Books with outdoor adventures and colorful, detailed pictures seem to be her favorites. When you add a fun way to expand her knowledge base, I am particularly excited to sit down and dig into a new story. The new book by Dawn Menge, titled Queen Vernita's Visitors, meets the qualifications of both my daughter and me perfectly. I know the Queen will be a favorite bedtime character in our home for a long time to come.

The main character of Menge's book is Queen Vernita, the ruler of a world called Oceaneer. Although she loves being a queen, Vernita has discovered that it can be lonely at the top. To diminish the isolation she feels in her castle, Queen Vernita decides to invite twelve of her friends to visit her - one for each month of the year. Queen Vernita and her friend of the month take their attention to the calendar one step further by deciding on a fun activity for each day of the week. Who wouldn't want to have a huge snowball fight every Friday in February or eat apples right off the tree every Thursday in September? Queen Vernita is a hostess who knows how to show her friends a good time!

My experiences as both a parent and a teacher have taught me that repetition is important when teaching a new concept to a child. Menge goes through each day of the week on every page and always mentions the number of days each guest gets to visit (including the fact that Tommie only visited for twenty-eight days in February because it wasn't a leap year). By the last few months detailed in the book, even the youngest readers will be able to recite the days of the week with you. Queen Vernita's Visitors provides a fun and creative way to learn that Tuesday comes after Monday and so on. Just as important to the adult reader who is sharing the story with a child, I never felt like I was reciting the same material over and over again. The repetition serves its purpose without overpowering the enjoyment of learning how Queen Vernita and her guests spend their time together.

Children will love the exciting games and adventures that are laid out in this book. From jolly jump rope to climbing big pine trees to making pumpkin pies, these characters know how to keep themselves busy. Queen Vernita is not satisfied with watching TV or playing video games, and hopefully Menge's readers will take the cue and try some of these fun activities themselves. Great books are often the catalyst for hours of imaginative fun.

The beautiful illustrations drawn by Bobbi Switzer add so much to the pleasurable experience that is Queen Vernita's Visitors. The bright colors and large drawings can be used to tell a story all by themselves. With just enough detail to be interesting but not be too busy, the pictures can be used to encourage kids to have further discussions about the great times that Queen Vernita and her visitors have every day. Switzer's pictures also provide a perfect opportunity for siblings to share this book. The older child can take pride in reading each day of the week while her younger counterpart can delight in the pictures of Queen Vernita as she makes the most out of her castle and its surroundings.

I love that the author used family members and friends as the inspiration for the characters in this book. Queen Vernita is based on her grandmother, which I imagine made for wonderful childhood visits! Dawn Menge has said that she hopes to use the Queen Vernita character in a series of books. I certainly hope that she follows through on this intention, as I promise that my daughter and I will cuddle together and read every one of her stories. Queen Vernita's Visitors is a beautiful book that takes children and adults alike through a year of friendships and fun. It is a must-have addition to any kid's library!

Grady Harp

Dawn Menge has a background/degree in Special Education and while working with severely handicapped children she has keenly observed learning patterns of all children (her current goal is a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction). Fold all of these experiences together and one fine example of her creative mind is QUEEN VERNITA'S VISITORS. Collaborating with artist Bobbi Switzer she has produced a book for children that is at once a fine story well illustrated and a resource for assisting parents and teachers to explore the concept of time, the days of the week, the months of the year, the numbers of days in each month, the concept of friendship and of sharing, and the beauties of the four seasons and the physical and climatic changes they represent. And Menge wisely uses the trusty tool of repetition and variation to teach and to maintain the interest of the reader and the lucky child to whom this book is read.

Vernita is the Queen of the mythical kingdom of Oceaneer, and while she is a happy person she misses the contact of friends in the land of Quails. Her solution to her loneliness? Invite a different friend to stay with her in her castle for one month, during which time she and her friend enjoy events pertinent to that month's climate and holidays. Each page (accompanied with a superbly painted illustration) introduces a new friend in a new month and the routine Queen Vernita and her visitor of the month is mapped out as repeated frolics for each day of the week until the friend departs at the end of that month. We visit winter, spring, summer and autumn and discover novel and alliterative ways to bond with friends, such as 'popping pumpernickel popcorn', 'picking shiny Shell Flowers' and numerous other very clever ideas for children to explore in their own neighborhood of friends.

The book is well conceived and well written, a pleasure for adults to read and a contagiously informative and entertaining book for reading and re-reading for children of all ages. We can only hope Dawn Menge continues to publish this approach to children's literature. She does it very well! Grady Harp, November 08

z hayes

I am a former teacher and mother to a 3.5 year-old preschooler. I have been teaching my daughter the days of the week, the months of the year and the seasons using various teaching aids such as books, wall charts etc. Dawn Menge's "Queen Vernita's Visitors" is a beautifully illustrated story book that aids in helping young children [preschool and up] learn the days of the week, the 12 months of the year, the number of days in the 12 months, and also the seasons of the year.

The story's premise is charming in itself - Queen Vernita of the Oceaneers Kingdom invites 12 special friends to visit her during each month of the year.For each of those months, Queen Vernita and her visiting friend engage in fun activities every day of the week - the days of the week are listed together with the activities carried out and this repetition helps young children in remembering the days of the week. Not only that, one can also teach concepts such as 'the day before', 'the day after' and so on using the story in this book.

Besides the days of the week, the months of the year are also covered here and each page is devoted to a particular month, with a mention of the number of days for each month - e.g. February is listed as having 'only 28 days because this year is not a leap year' - this is quite a difficult concept to teach a preschooler but with some explanation and repetition [using other learning tools such as nursery rhymes etc] it is not an impossible concept to teach.

The seasons of the year are beautifully reinforced here through the vibrant use of color and illustrations [by Bobbi Switzer]. For example, the months of Spring have illustrations of greenery and vibrant flowers, the months of Summer are illustrated by outdoor activities such as playing on the beach, lying outside under the stars, the months of Fall are conveyed by colorful pictures of apple-picking, pumpkin harvesting, and a Thanksgiving meal, and finally Winter is depicted by a Christmas celebration.

All in all, I found "Queen Vernita's Visitors" by Dawn Menge to be an engaging and well-written story book for young children. Both my preschooler and I enjoyed reading it and I found it an effective teaching tool for reinforcing calendar-related themes such as days of the week, months of the year and the seasons. Highly recommended!

Judith A. Mashtalier

This is an exciting way to teach calendar skills, with repetition that isn't boring.
The children will love the adventures that Queen Vernita and her friends have throughout the year. In August Queen Vernita and Hannah enjoy the mountains of the Oceaneer kingdom. They sleep under the stars next to a flowing stream.
In May Jeremy and Queen Vernita pick huge sunflowers.
The queen and her friends share an entire year of activities and adventures that will expand into the childs real life experiences.
This book covers the months of the year, days of the week, seasons and even leap year.
Each month is filled with vibrant and fun illustrations. Each picture brings the months to life and helps you to enjoy the queen's adventures.
This is a definite must to add to your childrens home or school library.

Charles Ashbacher

This book is delightful and an excellent way to teach children about the months of the year, the days of the week, how many days the months have in them and the change of the seasons in the northern hemisphere. Queen Vernita invites a different friend to her castle each month of the year. The story begins with January and for each week in the month, Vernita and her friend do the same activity on the same day of the week. These activities are specific to the season, for example in the winter months they do winter activities and in the summer months they do summer activities.
The illustrations are excellent without being gaudy in the sense of being excessively colorful. They complement the text very well and show Vernita as being a regular person rather than a pompous queen. The activities are also things that most children will be familiar with so they would provide the opportunity for the teacher or the parent to stop and ask the young listener if they do similar things in that month.

D. Blankenship

Queen Vernita's Visitors by Dawn Menge and Illustrated by Bobbi Switzer is yet another wonderful tool for parents, teachers and those home schooling their children to add to their teaching arsenal. This is one of those little books that will actually make learning fun for both those doing the teaching, and most important, the wee student. Well written and well illustrated, it is an absolute delight to the ear and the eye and ultimately, of course, to the mind.

There are certain basic bits of information we all have to learn as we grow older, telling time, how to tie our shoes, different colors, different shapes, and what is harmful, what is not. This work covers the calendar and all the aspects of the calendar. Days, Months, seasons and the order they come in. This may not seem like much, but it actually is rather important and rather than let the child learn through osmosis, or just pick it up as they go along, a good teaching tool is just what is in order and makes the job so much easier, faster and more enjoyable.

Queen Vernita is lonesome for her old friends and to remedy this, she invites them to her castle; one at a time for a one month stay. While at the castle they participate in a new and exciting activity each day of the week. Each page of this book covers one month starting with the numerical number of the month along with its name, then progresses to the days of the week, and the season. This is repetitive, each pages covers all the days of the week in order. The child is also taught the number of days in each month. By the end of the work, the child has recited each month and then all of the days of the week twelve times. The author has very cleverly worked into the last sentence of the book an easy transition which begs the reader to start the book all over again. This is neat and I got a kick out of it.

The illustrations in this work are in bold colors and expertly executed. The characters are quite unique, from the Queen, to her guests, to the small critters stuck here and there throughout as well as the various plants and trimmings. The illustrations are not overly cluttered, yet leave plenty of room for the individual reading the book with the child to discuss various aspects of the story and make their own additions, something I dearly love doing.

I had the opportunity to use this work with a group of first graders (twice) and they responded quite well, and in fact I was asked for second and third readings by each class. Endorsements do not get much better than this. I cannot for the life of me figure out how a child could not learn the months, days of the week, seasons and all their orders, after going thorough this work a few times.

The writing style is excellent and very carefully worded. The illustrations are great. Kids like it and it is fun to read with them. All the while the child is actually learning something. What more could you want?

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks

Sally \"SmilingSally\"

What a terrific tool for homeschooling parents and teachers to use to teach the days of the week, months of the year, and the seasons! The number of days in each month is covered too. Told in a straight forward style, this whimsical tale will capture the attention while teaching. The illustrations are delightful while colorful.

One caveat is that punctuation should have been more carefully applied. For instance, never more than one exclamation point should be used.

The Oceaneer world awaits your exploring. This is a good one.

J. Menge \"Jeremy\"

Queen Vernitas Visitors is a great book!!! I especially enjoyed reading about her adventures as she went through the months of the year and days of the week.
This book is full of imagination and activities for children and adults of all ages.
The repitiion in the book helps children build reading skills. An example of one month is as follows.
In the month of May Jeremy came. He loved to see all of the flowers that the April Showers brought. They picked flowers for all of the 31 days of May.
On Mondays, they picked Merry Margolds.
On Tuesdays, they picked tiny Tulips.
On Wednesdays, they piecked wild Wedding Bells.
On Thursdays, they picked Thorny Thistles.
On Fridays, they picked the freshest Fressias Jeremy had ever seen.
On Saturdays, they picked Shiny Shell Flowers.
On Sundays, they picked shiny shell flowers.
Jeremy had so many flowers he could hardly get them all home.

This is a must for your childs collection.

Bryan Carey

Queen Vernita's Visitors is a book aimed at elementary school- age children and it emphasizes learning and understanding the calendar, along with the importance of friends and how it isn't always so great to be on the top of the world if you don't have anyone with whom to share your happiness. This book is written in a repetitive style that is intended to drive the key points into the mind of the young reader so that he/she doesn't forget.

Teaching the calendar is the main goal of this book and it includes a separate pair of pages for each month of the year as Queen Vernita invites a different friend to share time with her for a full month. With each month, the book is careful to point out the number of days in each month and it even makes a point to say that February only has 28 days this time around because it isn't a leap year. The book then helps children learn the days of the week. With each passing month, the book describes one of the friends and then lists out, Monday through Sunday, what activities were going to take place during those days of the week throughout the month. Rather than list out 28, 30, or 31 different activities, the book keeps it simple by listing only seven activities and explains that these activities will take place on all of the Mondays, all of the Tuesdays, etc., for the entire month.

Like I mentioned above, Queen Vernita's Visitors is a very repetitive book, but it was most certainly intended that way because its main goal is to teach children the months of the year, the days of the week, and the number of days in each month. It accomplishes this feat through continuous repetition which, as many know who work with young children, is generally an effective way to memorize. Also, the book helps kids learn to associate certain activities with certain months. In April, for example, the weather started to warm up so Vernita's friend Cale showed up with her dog, ready to play in the warmer temperatures- even if it rained. In August, the weather was hot so Vernita plans a visit with her friend Hannah. They go to the mountains and spend time camping and hiking; enjoying the somewhat cooler temperatures at the higher altitudes.

Queen Vernita's Visitors offers some good illustrations, but they vary in their level of creativity. The illustration for June, for example, is rather plain but the illustration for November is better, with a drawing of a large picnic table covered with Thanksgiving foods and surrounding by ten hungry, happy guests. These illustrations are a little inconsistent, but they are still pretty good with each one depicting a different activity.

Queen Vernita's Visitors, taken as a whole, is a nice children's book that helps kids learn the months of the calendar, the number of days in each month, etc., while also teaching them the importance of friendship and the enjoyment of the company of others. The repetition might annoy some readers, but most little kids like it when things are repeated and it certainly drives home the book's most important lessons.

Marci Twain

I liked this book. I found it to be well illustrated. And I thought the concept was wonderful for teaching kids the number of months in a year, the names of the months, and how many days each month has. The text of the book was just OK in my humble opinion.

The book came off a little too "mechanical" to me. It felt almost as if the original outline to the book was published rather than a free-flowing story told in a fun and heartwarming kind of way. I think the author should have broken from strict structure to make the book feel more like a story than a teaching tool regarding calendar basics.

The title of the book indicates that Queen Vernita has a bunch of visitors. But after reading the book I learned that they were not mere visitors - but instead, were her friends. And since they were her friends I kind of wanted to know why each was her friend. And this information was not provided. All in all, I liked the book. But it could have been better. 4 stars!