Queen Vernita Visits Gator Country
Outskirts Press (2014)
Reviewed by Marten Weldon (age 9) for Reader Views Kids (7/14)
“Queen Vernita Visits Gator Country” by Dawn Menge is about Queen Vernita’s year-long exploration of the Deep South. She learns about jazz music, paddleboats, Mardi-Gras, alligators, the French Quarter in New Orleans, the Audubon Zoo, sugar plantations and slavery, the Underground Railroad (which is not really a railroad), the bayou, and southern tribes.
Queen Vernita spends one month in each of twelve different places in the south. Each page is dedicated to one of these places and lists a fact that she learned for each day of one week (seven facts for each month). Most of the facts are really short like learning that the Oak Pathway Plantation was built in 1837 or that a paddleboat can be 692 feet long and weigh 32,000 tons. Some of the facts were interesting (did you know that the alligator species is over 150 million years old?), but some didn’t provide enough information. The author never explained that the Underground Railroad has nothing to do with trains, and the information about Mardi-Gras was kind of confusing - what is Shrove Tuesday?
I would recommend “Queen Vernita Visits Gator Country” by Dawn Menge to people who will be traveling to the South and want to get an idea for the kinds of things that are there.