Visit to Lalor Primary School

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting Lalor Primary School to talk to the students (and staff) about Queenie the elephant and my research behind the writing of my picture book ‘Queenie One Elephant’s Story’ published by Black Dog Books, now an imprint of Walker Books and illustrated by Peter Gouldthorpe.

The paperback edition of the book was launched at the Melbourne Zoo in January and a US edition will be released early next year.

Lalor Primay School was one of 50 Victorian schools to be given a sculpture of Mali the elephant calf to decorate. All students at the school have been involved in elephant making craft including elephant masks, plasticine modelling, drawing and painting of elephants and they have also been looking at how elephant environments have changed both in the wild and in the way these beautiful creatures are housed and cared for in zoos today.

Which is exactly where I came in with my presentations on Queenie, sharing research photos of past residents of the Melbourne zoo and talking about the contrasts between what the zoo was like when Queenie walked the circuit from 1905 to 1944 and what it is like today. To older students I posed the question, ‘How different is it for an animal born in the zoo to one who has been captured in the wild?’

The younger children surprised me by donning their elephant masks and my biggest challenge was convincing the children that my ‘Queenie Cake’ was for display purposes only and not for eating!

My thanks must go to the children who are so involved and committed to this project and to Penny Allibon who is leading them through.

Colourful display of plasticine elephants

Work in progress artwork

I've never presented to a class of elephants before!

Penny Allibon in elephant robe.

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  1. Kaye Baillie Elephants are such beautiful animals. I love the kids' masks and the colourful plasticine replicas. The ability of children to create is so amazing and thanks to you they are inspired.
    July 18, 2012 at 10:12 am · Reply
  2. Sue Corinne, sounds like the most fantastic visit. So glad you enjoyed! It's obvious the kids and staff did. Congrats!
    July 18, 2012 at 12:04 pm · Reply
  3. Chris Bell So glad your Queenie cake survived the visit, though it does look so delicious and tempting to gobble it up. How gorgeous are those plasticine elephants and the masks are brilliant. Sounds and looks from the photos like a fabulous visit and inspirational to all.
    July 26, 2012 at 9:06 am · Reply

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