Queen Vernita is the benevolent ruler of the Kingdom of Oceaneer. To stave off her loneliness she invites one friend to visit her home for one month each. Beginning in January and moving through December, she and her friends engage in a variety of light-hearted, fun-filled and seasonally appropriate activities as the months, days contained in each month and days of the week are taught to young children.
Author Dawn Menge draws upon her experience with special needs populations and interest in instructional techniques to form the basis for Queen Vernita’s Visitors, a colourful, whimsical introduction into the yearly cycle we are most familiar with in calendar form. By presenting the flow of time in a repetitive, story format, abstract calendar-based concepts are more easily absorbed by young children.
After setting the stage by counting each month and laying the groundwork for the visit of Queen Vernita’s friends, a repetitive and soothingly predictable pattern is begun. Each month is presented in a two-page spread, with a full-colour illustration on the left panel and the simple text on the right. The following quote demonstrates the form in which each month’s information is conveyed along with repeating the days of the week:
"In January she invited Debbie. Debbie stayed from January 1st to January 31st. Queen Vernita loved her visit with Debbie.
"On Mondays, they played jolly jump rope.
"On Tuesdays, they played juggling jacks.
"On Wednesdays, they played four square."
If some of the listed activities seem nonsensical, it may be due to the fact that the twelve characters who visit with the Queen throughout the year are based upon Menge’s own circle of family and friends. Doubtless, some of these activities are favourites of her loved ones and inside references to pleasurable times spent together.