A visit to the Western Plains Zoo in New South Wales initiated my fascination for giraffes which was then cemented last year during a trip to London Zoo. The height is impressive and, clearly, could be an advantage in some situations. But what about those other zoo residents possessing curiosity but without the required size to peer over walls and fences? What might they do to find out about the big wide world?
This month’s addition to alisonearlsALOUD is a children’s story centred around that very issue. “Over the Wall” brings together a motley crew of animals that would never interact in the wild but just might do so to scratch the itch that is the desire to look further, to explore, to roam free. And once you’ve listened to/read their story, the solution to how they went ‘over the wall’ lies in a simple click of the ZOO sign that they left behind them as they scampered off into the night.
I know some have, in the past, made return visits for re-reading of “The Monster, the Witch and Me” so I hope this one appeals to the same readers/listeners (without causing too much irritation to parents!) I’ve provided some simple illustrations to accompany the repetition that’s so popular with a young audience but I encourage anyone to take the story beyond the little bunch of creatures I’ve put together and speculate on how other animals might unite to achieve the seemingly impossible both inside and outside the boundaries of the zoo. Long necks, trunks, flippers and flying skills can all be harnessed to achieve great things – especially in active imaginations.
I hope this month’s addition is enjoyable and provokes some creative discussion!