Elizabeth, Queen of the Seasby Lynne Cox (Author), Brian Floca (Illustrator)
Seal in town!
In the town of Christchurch, all the way in New Zealand, there was once an elephant seal. This seal loved to swim in the warm waters of the Avon River. She loved to swim in the rivers sweet, shallow waters. Which was quite unusual for a typical elephant seal!
And every now and then, this seal loved to haul her huge slippery body out of the water and drag herself out to the cool grassy banks. There she would stretch herself out and lady down for a nice nap. If she got too hot, she would dig up some wet dirt and toss them on her back.
Now to the folks in town, this gentle creature was big, regal, strong and powerful. Just like the Queen of England. And that’s how she got the name “Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas”.
One day, Elizabeth dragged herself too far onto the road. Little did she realize that the screeching of the brakes would send her flying off into the water pretty soon!
The people of Christchurch decided to send Elizabeth to a safer place.. one where she would belong with other elephant seals. So one day, when Elizabeth was in the river, a group of volunteers approached her in a motor boat. They looped a rope around her body and towed her far away, into the dark cold ocean. At last they reached a sandy beach where other elephant seals lived. There the crew set her free.
At first Elizabeth saw hundreds of seals around. They bellowed and roared, squished and belched. Finally, Elizabeth decided that maybe this was not quite the right place for her. Next day, the people of Christchurch found the friendly, familiar elephant seal back at her favorite spot on the Avon river.
This is a warm tale of a friendship between humans and animals. When we opened the book, we were completely enchanted by Floca’s warm watercolor drawings of the elephant seal. Cox’s writing is straight from the heart. Being a long distance swimmer, she narrates the story of Elizabeth’s long distance swim and what hardship she would have faced in getting back to the warm waters of the Avon river.
Finally, this is a true story. And here she is.. the real Elizabeth, Queen of the seas!