California the Magic Island by Doug Hansen
(blurb) Queen Calafia, the main character of a sixteenth-century Spanish romance about an island overflowing with gold and populated by Amazon-like women, is incensed when she hears that we have adopted her name for our state. Being the good and reasonable queen that she is, she’s willing to hear from twenty-six animals about why California is worthy of her name. But if she decides it isn’t, she’ll launch an army of goddesses riding griffins to wreak her vengeance! Each animal characterizes California in a key cultural object or historical event.
This is a delightful book for the older picture grade reader. Not just your simple ryhming tales, but full stories told by an alphabet of animals. However, each story is only one page long, and the book can be broken down into daily reads. Each story tells an historical tidbit about California and offers plenty of learning experiences. Plus, at the end of the book, there are details about each animal that told Queen Calafia a story.
The illustrations are colorful and tied to each story. Children will have no problem understanding each story by looking at the corresponding picture on top of the page. They are a real treat, bringing the landmarks of California to life. I give this book 4 stars!