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Seeing the elephants is a highlight of a trip to the zoo for most of us. Imagine then, the excitement of not only seeing one of these magnificent creatures but being able to ride on its back!
A hundred years ago, for thousands of children (and not-so-children) in the Melbourne area, a trip to Melbourne Zoo was the treat of the year, and a ride around the zoo in the howdah on Queenie's back was more than worth having to get scrubbed clean and wear your best clothes.
Queenie: One elephant's story by Corinne Fenton, tells the story of this remarkable elephant which trod the Trail of the Elephants around Melbourne Zoo for more than forty years, and the pleasure she gave to so many.
But beyond being the simple biography of an elephant, Queenie forces us to think about the ethics of keeping wild animals in captivity, their role in providing humans with amusement and entertainment and what we can learn from Queenie's story 100 years on.
Author and illustrator profiles
Corinne Fenton is a Victorian author who has written several books for primary school children. When she first heard about Queenie, she knew the story had to be told and she spent more than four years researching and writing it.
In an interview with the Age newspaper in August 2006, Ms Fenton said, 'It [Queenie's death] was a bad decision. She deserved some tender, loving care, somewhere nice to live and to be looked after.'
You can find out more about Corinne's life, her writing and her passions by visiting her website at http://www.corinnefenton.com.
Peter Gouldthorpe is an award-winning illustrator who specialises is creating intricate, detailed and realistic artwork for picture books for older readers.
You can see more of his work in titles such as The Lost Diamonds of Killiecrankie, Hist!, The Wonder Thing, Grandad's Gifts and First Light. In 1994, he won the Children's Book Council Picture Book of the Year Award for First Light.
He now lives in Tasmania.
Smithsonian National Zoological Park
Taronga and Western Plains Zoo
Queenie the Elephant
Trail of the Elephants, Melbourne Zoo
IUCN Red List
Humane Society International
Before reading the book
This story is called Queenie: One elephant's story but it is not a story of an anonymous elephant in a herd that you might see on Discovery Channel. Queenie was a very different elephant and had a very different life. This is her biography.
Use Peter Gouldthorpe's illustration on the front cover to answer these questions and focus your thoughts on the story you are about to hear.
During and after reading the book
As you read the story, consider these questions: