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Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,303 ratings  ·  233 reviews
World-renowned swimmer and bestselling author Lynne Cox and Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator Brian Floca team up to bring us this inspiring story of an elephant seal who knew exactly where she belonged.

Here is the incredible story of Elizabeth, a real-life elephant seal who made her home in the Avon River in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. When Elizabeth decides
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Schwartz & Wade (first published September 1st 2012)
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  1,303 ratings  ·  233 reviews

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Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas by Lynne Cox is the beautiful, true story of Elizabeth, the elephant seal from New Zealand.

She decided she wanted to live in the city and nothing was going to stop her. Read along in the story to see how Elizabeth makes her dreams come true.

The book is beautifully illustrated and keeps your attention. It's a great story for young readers, easy to read, and keeps your attention!

Jun 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas, though perhaps not quite as much as I hoped I would. I couldn't help feeling worried about Elizabeth and whether she would be safe in the city--yet then I felt bad for her when they tried (with such good intentions) multiple times to return her to the wild when she so clearly did not want to be there. I liked the way the Author's Note introduced Michael and that he helped make the story itself easier for children to relate to. My son liked the ...more
Karen Witzler
Jun 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Elizabeth is an elephant seal living in the Avon River in New Zealand. This is a true story of how she became a fixture and then a hazard in Christchurch - she would leave the river to bask on asphalt. Every effort to remove her - to the beach, to the company of her own kind, out to sea - failed and she returned to her urban river home. She refused to be a normal member of her seal society! Illustrations depict landmarks in Christchurch and the banks of the Avon to the sea. Fun story.
Jul 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young Animal Lovers / Brian Floca Fans
Long-distance swimmer Lynne Cox relates the true story of Elizabeth, an elephant seal who lived in Christchurch, New Zealand, in this wonderful picture-book. Swimming in the sweet water of the Avon River, and sunning herself on a nearby road, our phocine heroine, dubbed "Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas" by the people of Christchurch because of her regal mien, knew she belonged in the city. The humans, on the other hand, were not as sure, and tried multiple times to relocate her to wilder locales. ...more
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: librarians, teachers, parents, kids
Recommended to Relyn by: Show Me nominee
Shelves: library-lessons
If ever a book can convince you not to entirely trust the cover, this one is it. I was just sure I wouldn't like this book. Based on the watercolors and cursive, I thought it would be wimpy. Nope.

This book is delightful. I can't even tell you how much my second, third, and fourth graders loved this book. That's amazing, by the way. Usually fourth graders are "too cool" for books that second graders love. Not this one. Every single student at least liked this book and most of them loved it. Who
Jul 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a touching tale about an elephant seal who preferred to live in the warm waters of the Avon River near Christchurch, New Zealand, than the rocky beaches with her kin.

The narrative is entertaining and the illustrations by Brian Floca are fantastic. His drawings are very different from that in his Caldecott Medal-winning work in Locomotive, but quite nice all the same. We really enjoyed reading this book together.

This book was featured as one of the selections for the June 2015 Rivers
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great book! I read this with my 9-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son and we all loved it. I thought it might be too long for Nate but he was completely engrossed the entire time. Maria and I were equally delighted. The illustrations are beautiful and the story is wonderfully told. And at the end of the book is a picture of the real Elizabeth! I highly recommend this book to children and adults of all ages!
Kristine Hansen
Aug 20, 2015 rated it liked it
I find myself wondering as I read this book, how much is truth and how much is author's imagination. I wish the notes at the end gave a little more about the story of Elizabeth instead of focusing so much on facts about seals.

Still this was an interesting story about a seal who insisted upon making her home in the city rather than to be with other seals.
Stacy Fetters
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sneaky-librarian
A coworker ordered this book and as soon as I seen the cover... I was in love.
The true story of Elizabeth, Queen of the seas will take your heart and swim away with it. Shes strong, stubborn and regal which makes for a cute read.
D Long must read this!!!!
This charming true story of the beloved sunbathing elephant seal from Christchurch, New Zealand is a must read.

Elizabeth makes her home in the Avon River and frequently climbs out of the water to sunbathe on land and even in the busy paved street! Many efforts are made to move her to safer habitats, but Elizabeth always turns back up again choosing Christchurch over all other homes provided to her.

To solve the problems of Elizabeth's safety, the residents put up a special traffic sign to protect
Dani Kraft
Jun 21, 2018 added it
Shelves: non-fiction
Elizabeth, Queen of the Sea
By: Lynne Cox

Elizabeth, Queen of the Sea by Lynne Cox is a non-fiction book about an Elephant Seal who lives in the Avon River. She is supposed to be living near the rocky coast. Elizabeth on the other hand prefers to live in town. One day living in town became too dangerous, because she almost gets hit by a car. The town’s people decide it’s time for Elizabeth to go back into the wild. They took her all the way back to the ocean. Once Elizabeth is there she realizes
Oct 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, children
Beautifully illustrated with large lovely pages. I picked it up because of its aesthetics and that part didn't disappoint. I was a bit disappointed by the story, especially now that I discovered the author strayed from the real story of Elizabeth, the Christchurch sea lion.

According to Stuff, Elizabeth lived in the Avon from the late 1970s to her death in 1985. She was the pride and joy of the area, even though she often took naps in the street, once causing an accident.

In the book, the main
Elizabeth the elephant seal won the hearts of residents of Christchurch, New Zealand, when she made her home in the Avon River. She had lots of fans and visitors who flocked to see her and make her acquaintance. After Elizabeth disrupted traffic and caused an accident while sunning herself on a local road, she was relocated to the sea and a colony of other elephant seals. She returned to the river. She was again relocated - this time farther away - to the sea and another colony of elephant ...more
Emily Caveye
"The book that we are about to read is based on a true story! That means that most of what we read today actually happened! This story is about an elephant seal, do you guys know what elephant seals are? They are HUGE! and they live in the ocean. But this seal lives in a river and we are going to find out what happens."

"Before we begin I want to know if you guys know the difference between an ocean and a river?"
"An ocean is way bigger than a river and most sea animals like the ocean better
Jolynne Dougherty
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love this picture book based on the true story of an elephant seal who always finds her way home and of the people who learn and accept that. Beautiful
Richie Partington
Richie’s Picks: ELIZABETH, QUEEN OF THE SEAS by Lynne Cox and Brian Floca, ill., Random House/Schwartz & Wade Books, May 2014, 48p., ISBN: 978-0-375-95888-5

“Well Old Mr. Johnson had troubles all his own
He had an old yellow cat that wouldn’t leave home
Tried everything he knew to do to get the cat to stay away
Even took him up to Canada and told him for to stay
But the cat came back the very next day
Thought he was a goner, but the cat came back
“Cause he wouldn’t stay away”
-- 19th century folk
Jun 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Long distance, open water swimmer Lynne Cox visited New Zealand in 1983. While walking along the Avon river in Christchurch, a boy named Michael and his sister Maggie asked her if she was looking for Elizabeth. Lynne spent the rest of the day talking with them about the famous elephant seal (sea elephant as the kiwis call them) that lived in the river and had been named in honor of the Queen of England

It turns out that having a 2,000 pound mammal residing in your city can be a bit of a challenge
This story of incredible determination concerns a 1,200 pound elephant seal named Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas. For some reason, this animal preferred the river waters of Christchurch, New Zealand, to the sea, the typical habitat for her species. She and the town's citizens existed peacefully until she started using the road as a place to bask in the sun. Worried about Elizabeth being hit by a car or causing a wreck, the town's officials decided to move her. Each time, she somehow managed to ...more
Aug 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pbf-mammals
The lovely ink and watercolor paintings and text tell the true story of the female elephant seal who wanted to stay in the Avon River which flows through Christchurch, New Zealand. The seal had been towed away several times, as far as several hundred miles away, but the seal always found her way back. I was impressed by the story and the illustrations, which I thought were very successful in depicting just how large this elephant seal was. I was just amazed by the story of an elephant seal who ...more
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the true story of an elephant seal who preferred the city life to hanging out with other seals. When her penchant for sunbathing in the middle of busy streets became a hazard, volunteers towed her out to sea . . . multiple times, but she always came back . Sometimes it's easier to regulate traffic than a seal who loves warm asphalt!

Sweet story, with lovely illustrations by Brian Floca.
Sydney Miles
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is based on a true story about a brave and strong elephant seal. This books encourages reading and the will to keep going and following your heart. The images in the book matched perfectly with the plot, making it exciting and real.
Wonderful illustrations by Brian Floca. Just wished back material had more on the real Elizabeth.
Maggi Rohde
Oct 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book, animals
Cleanly written, compelling and adorable! I'm not super crazy about Floca's style here, but the elephant seals are so, so sweet. Pair with Balto or other animal journey story.
Sara Collins
Non-fiction Book #2
Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas
Lynne Cox

“I want to read you a part of this book before we start. (show cover) ‘The seal’s coat was silvery brown. She was eight feet long--as long as a long surfboard--and she weighed twelve hundred pounds--as much as fifteen Labrador retrievers.’ I love how the author helps us understand exactly how big she was by giving us a comparison to something we already know. ‘She was strong and powerful and regal--like Elizabeth, the Queen of
Sierra Nikole
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Elizabeth: Queen of the Seas by Lynne Cox
This book is possibly one of the cutest books I have read! Elizabeth is an elephant seal, who has so much persistence in her that she strongly desires to live on the land and be around the people who look for her and love her. One of her best fans is a little boy looks for her often, but knows that he mustn’t get too close. Elizabeth loves to come up onto the shores of the rivers that she swims to, to get out of the sea, however, many of the
Kathy Lentz
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Today I have another nonfiction story to share with you. Remind me what nonfiction means. (Students respond.) The title of today's book is Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas written by Lynne Cox. Thinking about that title, who has a prediction for what they think the story might be about? (Students respond.) Let me show you the cover now. What animal do you think this is in the water? (Students respond.) Why do you think the people are looking at the animal? (Students respond.) Our author has provided ...more
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a true story about an elephant seal, named Elizabeth, that lived in the Avon River in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. One boy, Michael, especially enjoyed seeing Elizabeth daily on his way to and from school. One day when Elizabeth hauled herself up to the top of the riverbank and across the road, she caused a car accident. The townspeople decided it would be better if she lived at sea with other elephant seals and hauled her out to sea. To their surprise, she returned to the Avon ...more
Tara Schloetter
This is a delightful book with such an interesting and true story. Lynne Cox tells the tale of an elephant seal who preferred the Avon River that flowed through the town of Christchurch, New Zealand instead of the ocean and rocky coastlines that the elephant seal species typically live in. This elephant seal, named Elizabeth, would swim through the Avon River and bask in the sun on the banks of the river. If the grass on the banks of the river was too wet, Elizabeth would haul herself all the ...more
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely story of a determined elephant seal named Elizabeth. We loved the story! There were lots of gasps and worried looks when she'd crawl out on to the road to sun herself. We especially loved the picture of her when she returned back to the city again.

We had a great discussion about genre. This is based on a real story and so it has elements of non-fiction (facts) and elements of fiction (beginning, middle, end, parts are from someone's imagination, characters, setting and plot). We
Taylor Varejcka
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Elizabeth is an elephant seal that found her way from the sea to the Avon River in Christchurch, New Zealand. One day, Elizabeth decides to come out from the water onto a two-way street, where people worry she will cause accidents or get injured. So, she is taken from the city out into the ocean, but soon finds her way back home to Christchurch. Time and time again, they try to tow her out to sea, further and further each time. But Elizabeth always comes back to where she belongs.

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Lynne Cox is an American long-distance open-water swimmer and writer.