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Children's Fiction Self-esteem & Self-reliance

Queenie Quail Can't Keep Up

by (author) Jane Whittingham

illustrated by Emma Pedersen

Pajama Press Inc.
Initial publish date
Mar 2019
Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, General, Birds
Recommended Age
3 to 7
Recommended Grade
k to 2
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2019
    List Price

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From the author of Wild One and A Good Day for Ducks, an enchanting story of about slowing down to notice the world and speaking up when it matters

No matter how hard she tries, little Queenie Quail can’t keep up with her Mama and her Papa and her nine bobbing, tapping siblings. “Hurry, hurry, hurry!” they exclaim as Queenie lags behind. But how can Queenie hurry when there are so many interesting things to look at? One day when she stops to admire a fascinating feather, a flash of orange catches Queenie’s eye. Spotting danger among the greenery, Queenie springs into action, hurry, hurry, hurrying to warn her family just in the nick of time.

From Jane Whittingham, the celebrated author of Wild One and A Good Day for Ducks, Queenie Quail Can’t Keep Up is a story about the value of slowing down to take notice of the world around us. Whittingham’s bouncy prose is filled with lovely wordplay and musicality, pairing perfectly with debut illustrator Emma Pedersen’s whimsical illustrations in this tale that young readers will identify with and ask for again and again.


About the authors

Jane Whittingham is a librarian from Burnaby, British Columbia, and earned her Masters of Library and Information Sciences at UBC with an emphasis on children's librarianship and literature. Much like the adventurous main characters in her fiction picture books, Wild One, A Good Day for Ducks, and Queenie Quail Can’t Keep Up, Jane loves to explore. And much like the children photographed in her nonfiction picture book Animals Move, she loves a lively story time!


Jane Whittingham's profile page

Emma Pedersen is an illustrator and concept artist with a love for visual storytelling and character design. With BFAs from the Ontario College of Art and Design in drawing and painting, and from Sheridan College in illustration, Emma specializes in children’s illustration. Her first picture book is Queenie Quail Can’t Keep Up (2019). Emma lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her partner and a beloved, and smelly, little dog.


Emma Pedersen's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Queenie Quail Can't Keep Up

"Bright, swirling, busy spreads in warm gouache colors enhance this simple tale of a family of California quails, reminiscent of Make Way for Ducklings....[Whittingham employs] rhythm and repetition to both delineate characters and propel the plot. Pedersen imbues her quail chicks with lots of personality by focusing on their wide, white faces and bouncing topknots."—Kirkus Reviews

"Especially winsome are close-ups of Queenie...The lovely illustrations and lyrical language, the pairing of curiosity and caution, and the opportunity for youngsters to join in the reading make this a great choice for group sharing."—School Library Journal

"Spring colors abound in green grass and clover, fluffy yellow chicks, and indigo-plumed parents as the quails learn a lesson from their littlest one about appreciating the beauty all around us."—Foreword Reviews

"A well crafted picture book which author Jane Whittingham's original tale is deftly supported by illustrator Emma Pedersen thoroughly charming artwork, Queenie Quail Can't Keep Up will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition."—Midwest Book Review

"Beautiful, bright, nature illustrations grace the pages (very appropriately) in this story about a little quail who couldn't keep up with her hurried parents and siblings."—Youth Services Book Review

"[Queenie Quail Can't Keep Up] is a fun read aloud because many of the pages have repeating phrases of onomatopoeia....The gouache illustrations contain suspense because the children will wonder what Queenie sees...There are not a lot of picture books about quails, so this would be a wonderful way to introduce children to these fun birds commonly found in many forests of the world."—Resource Links

"Queenie Quail Can't Keep Up is such a beautifully written story...The details in the writing and in the illustrations, along with the repetition in the text, make Queenie Quail Can't Keep Up an excellent read-a-loud that will keep young readers engaged until the end. Highly Recommended."—CM Magazine

"[A] charming read-aloud that adults will love sharing and kids will enthusiastically chime in on during the fun repeated phrases....Pedersen's lovely gauche paintings are as fresh as a spring meadow and will entice kids and adults to take a nice slow walk together. A unique and tender story that will have children entranced from the first page, Queenie Quail Can't Keep Up will be a favorite on home, school, and public library shelves."—Celebrate Picture Books

"Though quails are usually very quiet unless startled, Jane Whittingham gives them voice in Queenie Quail Can't Keep Up and your little ones will enjoy the repetitive chirps of the quails as they move and urge Queenie to hurry....Queenie Quail may be a challenge for her family because she doesn't march to the same drummer as they do but that same difference also makes her an asset. Her observational skills and appreciation of what she sees around her is a testimonial to the benefit of mindfulness, taking in the moment and all it entails."—CanLit for LittleCanadians

"Queenie Quail Can't Keep Up is great, bouyant and chirpy reading fun, filled with energy, rhythm, repetition and marvelous artwork....Readers on the lookout for a lovely new storytime read aloud to try for preschool ages and up, or for a new cuddly story to share, Queenie Quail Can't Keep Up is one to reach for!"—Fab Book Reviews

"Not just an appealing book for young readers who can relate to the protagonist, Queenie reminds parents (like me) to slow down and appreciate the natural curiosity of their children–children who have an innate ability to really see all the beauty in this world....The illustrations by Emma Pederson are gorgeous, colourful gouache paintings reminiscent of the books of my childhood."—Kids Make Mess

"Queenie Quail Can't Keep Up makes a fantastic read aloud. Your listeners will want to join in on all the repetitious parts of the story, the hurry, hurry, hurry and the tap, tap, tap. The story is engaging and fun and so impeccably illustrated. Emma Pedersen's illustrations just scream Spring!"—Storytime with Stephanie

"This engaging picture book uses word repetition, alliteration, imagery, and onomatopoeia to bring the story of this young bird and her family to life....[A] delightful story of stopping to take delight in the world around us, and valuing the contributions that we may not always recognize as being helpful."—Canadian Bookworm

"[A]n adorable book...I love Pedersen's illustrations and I love how Queenie stops to enjoy the little things in life, but knows when she has to hurry."—Book Time

“We rated this book: 5/5…I like Queenie Quail because she is sort of like me; I sometimes can't keep up with my family because I like to stop and look at little things in nature, like rollie pollie bugs, flowers, and butterflies. I noticed that the illustrator drew Queenie Quail to have a blue feather on her head, so you can tell the difference between her and her brothers and sisters....I recommend Queenie Quail Can’t Keep Up to little kids as a bedtime story."—Avery, Age 8, Kids’ BookBuzz


Other titles by Jane Whittingham

Other titles by Emma Pedersen

A Real Friend

English Edition

by (author) Shawna Thomson
illustrated by Emma Pedersen

My Ten Painted Nails

Bilingual Inuktitut and English Edition

by (author) Jennifer Jaypoody
illustrated by Emma Pedersen

What Can Ataata Fix?

Bilingual Inuktitut and French Edition

by (author) Nadia Sammurtok
illustrated by Emma Pedersen

Benny the Bananasaurus Rex

by (author) Sarabeth Holden
illustrated by Emma Pedersen

The Ugly Place

by (author) Laura Deal
illustrated by Emma Pedersen

I Frown, I Smile, I Laugh

English Edition

by (author) Inhabit Education Books
illustrated by Emma Pedersen

Sad Words

English Edition

by (author) Inhabit Education Books
illustrated by Emma Pedersen

Songs to Make You Smile!

Bilingual Inuktitut and English Edition

by (author) Inhabit Education Books
illustrated by Amiel Sandland, Ali Hinch, Sigmundur Thorgeirsson & Emma Pedersen

Sometimes We Need Help

Bilingual Inuktitut and English Edition

by (author) Jessie Hale
illustrated by Emma Pedersen

A World of Mindfulness

by (author) Erin Alladin
illustrated by Suzanne Del Rizzo, Rebecca Bender, Gabrielle Grimard, Tara Anderson, François Thisdale, Scot Ritchie, Miki Sato, Tamara Campeau, Emma Pedersen, Carmen Mok, Aino Anto, Sue Macartney, Amélie Dubois & Andrea Blinick