On a wonderful, Wednesday morning, Kamal woke up extremely excited and said, “Today I’m going to the zippy, zigzag, zoo!” Kamal’s mom, Wizzy came into her bedroom to get her ready for action and spoke with a thrill in her voice, “The sun is shining bright in the city this morning and it’s a great day for an adventure my little girl.”
As the wheels of the bus went round and round, teacher Kelly announced, “I need you all to be on your best behaviour kids. We’re going to be seeing a variety of animals today and we must always stay safe.“ We whizzed through the Johannesburg traffic and saw the dazzling, daylight dancers at the robots collecting money, they sparkled with colour on their pretty, painted faces and all around us were trippy, taillight taxi’s sounding “pee beep, pee beep” on their horns to get some passengers. I thought, “Wow! There are lots and lots of people in Joburg and it seems everyone is in a hurry-scurry to get somewhere.”
Though I was happy to be going to the zoo, I was also a little nervous and afraid that Larry the Lion was going to open up his big mouth and swallow me whole or bite me from hunger. Jabbering Jabu, is our tour guide and assures me, “Kamal, you have nothing to worry about, Larry the Lion is fed daily and won’t be making a meal of you anytime soon.” He laughed heartily. Jabu proceeds to take us on a tour to meet all the amazing animals. There were other kids there too and everyone was having tons of fun and learning all about the conservation of birds, reptiles, insects and small mammals. “Did you know that the cheetah is the fastest land mammal and that the white rhino is still endangered in South Africa?” Jabu asked, he also said “It’s important for us to look after our animals big and small.” We even had a laugh with Mona the Monkey. Jabu warned us, “Don’t feed any of the animals because that can be dangerous.” I know we have to be safe at all times and listen to our teacher and the tour guide. Especially when we eventually get to Larry the Lion. He’s so big with a beautiful golden coat and a huge, furry mane; Larry is the king of the zoo and teacher Kelly explains, “See Kamal, as long as you listen to the tour guide and follow the rules of the zoo, you don’t have to be afraid.” My knees weren’t rattled with nerves anymore; I could face Larry the Lion.
After seeing the whole zippy, zigzag zoo it was time for a lovely lunch and a pink picnic on the lawn. What an awesome way to end the day, with good food in the belly and playtime and we get to talk about what we saw. I really loved the pretty feathers on the old owl, the big elephant towering over everyone and the happy hippo looked so friendly until I saw the big teeth.
Mummy packed a cheese and tomato sandwich and a delicious green apple and I shared that with my friend, I was very thirsty so I make sure to drink my water.
Now it’s time to play! I love playtime, teacher has a ball that we kick around but before I know it’s time to leave again. Time flies when you’re having fun.
I wonder what my next adventure will bring!
About this story:
While introducing my 20 month old niece to a fun and entertaining world through books, my sister and I discovered that a lot of reading material for children in South Africa is not reflective of the country around us. For example some of the animals represented in books are not even indigenous to Africa. Or, books are about life on farms, whereas so many of the kids live in an urban environment, which they don’t see in the books they read. We also found that the majority of books are in English and don’t fully represent the South African linguistic landscape.
by Laura Kelly