Karen’s Killer Book Bench (Grades 4-6): QUEEN VERNITA CONQUERS THE VOLCANIC ISLANDS by Dr. Dawn Menge, #Character #Interview with Queen Vernita

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Grade Level 4-6
Illustrations by Pamela Snyder


The Queen of the Land of Quails is preparing to travel to the mysterious Volcanic Islands to meet twelve of her wonderful new friends. After she leaves her loyal subjects in charge of keeping her castle safe from harm for the next year, Queen Vermita boards a boat and heads out on her latest adventure.

The Queen’s first stop is to visit her friend Nicole at the black sand beach at the bottom of a beautiful valley where she learns all about the hawksbill sea turtles and hawaiian monk seal. Her journey takes her to a new place every month, where she explores volcanoes, pink and orange sand beaches, walks along the hot lava, scuba dives under the sea, and learns about all the flora and fauna that call the islands their home. Along the way, the Queen meets many amazing new friends who are each special in their own way.

In this continuing tale, an adventuresome queen travels outside her castle to the Volcanic Islands, where she learns how important it is to respect the natural wonders of her kingdom.


Grade Level 4-6
Illustrations by Pamela Snyder

Queen Vernita, Character Interview

1. What is your name? Do you have a nickname?

Queen Vernita but my friends and subjects just call me the Queen.

2. Who is your best friend? What kinds of things do you do when you’re together?

My best friend is King Teddy from the volcanic Islands. We love to explore new places and learn about their customs and the flora and fauna of the area.

3. If you have a family, how do you get along with them? If you don’t, are there people in your life that you consider family? How do you get along with them?

I have a huge family and we all get along most of the time.  Like all families we have our disagreements but it is done in a loving way, we are all very supportive of each other.  I consider all of my subjects of my Kingdom part of my family. We have many grand adventures in each region of the Oceaneers world.  I swam with dolphins, had a seahorse wrap its tail around my finger, snorkeled in frozen water and white water rafted down a river. My family and friends are very generous and give of their home lives to share what is important to them.  I could not be happier being the Queen of the Oceaneers Kingdom.

4. Do you have a birthmark? Scars? Where is it/are they? How did you get it/them?

Why yes, I have two scars.  I received one when I was visiting the Volcanic Islands and we were lowered into a cage off of the boat and one of my subjects was on top feeding the sharks. Soon, there were fifteen sharks swimming around us and I just couldn’t help myself and I reached out to touch one swimming by the cage.  The shark felt so sleek and powerful under my hand.  Suddenly, he turned his head and I snatched my hand back into the cage and scratched my arm on the side of the cage.

I also have a scar on my leg from when I was white water rafting and a rock put a hole in the other raft.  So, we had to take on two extra people. We were having trouble navigating our boat and we got trapped on a huge rock in the middle of the river.  I was on the bottom end and all the other passengers’ weight was pushing me under the rock.  I had to let go and was sent swiftly down the river.  I could feel the water churning over my head as I was thrown back and forth.  The rescuers were blowing their whistle and hurrying to catch up with me, which they did as I was pulling myself onto the shore line.  I was shaking so bad from the adrenaline that they had to help me up into their boat.  I cut my leg on the side of a very sharp rock.

When I was visiting Gator country we went on a jet boat ride through the Bayou while it was thundering and lightening. We had to stop under the trees with moss hanging off of them to shelter us and keep us safe.  After the storm passed our guide took some fish out and started making a strange noise.  We could soon see eyes approaching us over the top of the water.  Several huge alligators came and took fish from the guide’s hands.  It was exciting and nerve racking all at the same time.  He showed us a nest of babies and we held them, we rubbed their tummies and they seemed to be very content. As we were putting them back I nicked my finger on one of their very sharp teeth.  It was an accident but it’s always a better story when I tell everyone that this little guy did it on purpose :}.

5. A penguin walks up to you, right now, wearing a sombrero. What does he say to you and why is he here?

That has been one of my dream adventures to see the penguins.  He would be inviting me to visit his region within my Kingdom to spend twelve wondrous months, exploring and learning all about his area and meeting a new friend and subject for each month of the year.  I would have my bags packed lickedy split and be on my way.

6. What’s the one thing you’re afraid of losing?

My thirst for adventure and new experiences, to become mundane and to not see the wonder around me every single day.

7. What makes you laugh out loud?

I enjoy spending time with children and people who love children.  I work a lot with children who have disabilities, and they always make me laugh and smile.

8. What’s your favorite food?

I loved eating the German Cuisine when I rode the Quads on the beach in Baja Quails. It was very different for me, but I have not had the chance to have any since I’ve been there. During my visit to Baja Quails I tried grunion, I was not too fond of that.  I tried seaweed when I was visiting the Island of Enchantment, though I’m told it is very good for you, I don’t think I will try it again.

I love tacos; I just can’t get enough of them.  I had some supper yummy tacos in a small town when I was visiting Baja Quails.

9. What’s the one thing you want out of life that you don’t think you can have? Why can’t you have it?

I think that the only thing that I would really want that I will not be able to get is to have my father here to see how his children and grandchildren have fared in the world. He has given us a solid sense of right and wrong and to have pride in ourselves.

About Author Dr. Dawn Menge…

Dr. Dawn Menge has won twenty-nine national awards as a self-published author of the Queen Vernita’s Educational Series. Her published works also include: THE SIX FEDERAL INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PLAN GOALS AND THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THEIR IMPLEMENTATION IN PREPARING FOR TRANSITION.

Dr. Dawn Menge has a PHD in Education. She specialized in Curriculum and Instruction. A Master’s and a Clear Credential in moderate/severe disabilities and a Bachelor’s in Human Development. Dr. Dawn Menge has been teaching severely handicapped students for sixteen years.

Dr. Dawn Menge is the mother of three and the grandmother of five beautiful grandchildren.


Links to Dawn’s website, blog, books, etc.



Thanks, Dawn, for sharing your book with us!

Don’t miss the chance to read this book!


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4 Responses to Karen’s Killer Book Bench (Grades 4-6): QUEEN VERNITA CONQUERS THE VOLCANIC ISLANDS by Dr. Dawn Menge, #Character #Interview with Queen Vernita

  1. Samantha McFarland says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Always love finding books that the kids might like – kids meaning grandkids. Love the idea and the adventures would definitely appeal to kids.

  2. Kathleen Bylsma says:

    Although not my cuppa, this is an interesting interview. Children should enjoy it. Thanks, Karen and Dr. Dawn Menge.

  3. Karen Docter says:

    Good morning, Dawn, and welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench. I agree that this sounds like a wonderful series for one of my grandkids…when she’s old enough. Right now, all of my grandchildren are either teenagers or littles. Thanks for letting us get a peek into Queen’s life from her perspective!

  4. Helen Rodin Drake says:

    Hi Dawn,
    I enjoyed reading this interview. Sounds like a book my grandsons might enjoy.

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