Quiet Queenie by Susannah McFarlane

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Ill. by Lachlan Creagh. Little Mates series. Scholastic, 2012. ISBN: 9781742833316.
(Age: 3-6) This Little Mates series is beautifully Australian. Each one focuses on a different letter and a different Australian animal. In this case the letter is Q and the animal is Queenie who is quite possibly the quietest quokka in Queensland. Filled with 'q' words many of which are quintessentially Australian this book will help to extend vocabulary, assist with phonemic awareness and help beginning readers in letter knowledge and identification. The dedication of each book to a single letter sometimes results in strange choices of vocabulary and seems to dictate the path of the storyline which in the case of Quiet Queenie is more of a sequence of vaguely related information and events rather than a plot. As an alphabet and vocabulary book however Quiet Queenie is a delightful small picture book with beautiful Australian and uncommon words such as quartz, quaint, quoits, quandong, quail, quoll, quarry, quad bike, quince, quell and quipped.
Depicted in these books is the beautiful Australian landscape amid gorgeous soft and detailed illustrations which children will love searching through for other 'q' things and will delight in the cute Australian animals. These books are a great platform for initial sounds games with emerging readers and encourage the reader to relate elements of the story to their own life, thereby making some of the rich vocabulary meaningful. Each of these titles ends by posing a question to the reader, in this case 'Are you quiet sometimes too?'
Nicole Smith-Forrest