By Wayne VisserIf you don’t know what to do Or you feeling mad or blue Why not go down to the zoo And check what’s what and see who’s who? (This rhyme gives you a clue or two)
A is for AarvarkThere is no better place to start Than with the wacky weird AARDVARK With donkey ears and piggy nose And monkey tail and claws for toes Could there be a stranger beast? And that’s not all, he likes to feast His sticky tongue on termite ants (The kind you don’t want in your pants!) He’s rather shy – you would be too If you looked like him down at the zoo
B is for BearNow can you see (but please don’t stare) There is a fuzzy wuzzy BEAR She could be black or brown or white Or blue with spots (no, that ain’t right!) She likes to munch on juicy fruits Or smoke a pipe of bamboo shoots But don’t you kiss or hug her tight She’ll bite your head off with one bite (except for teddy bears like Pooh) Which bear will you see at the zoo?
C is for CrocodileSee that log with a toothy smile? Don’t be fooled, it’s a CROCODILE With scaly skin and googly eyes His wangled teeth should win a prize But don’t say “ugly”, if he hears He’ll start to cry crocodile tears And mind you don’t stand on his head He’ll chomp you like a piece of bread He lived when dinosaurs lived too And now he’s living at the zoo
D is for DolphinIf you prefer a friendly grin Then you should meet the dear DOLPHIN You’ll find her in the swimming pool She thinks her moves are super cool She’ll flash and splash and show you tricks Like fetching balls and doing flicks She makes a happy squeaky sound And gobbles fish up by the pound What’s more, she counts to twenty two And waves to greet you at the zoo
E is for ElephantWhat’s next? Let me give you a hint It’s huge, yes it’s the ELEPHANT He sucks up water through his nose Then squirts it out just like a hose He likes to bath in dirty mud And when he runs his feet go thud But if you’re quiet, you’ll hear him rumble That’s his language of the jungle He’s just a gentle giant who Gives kids free showers at the zoo
F is for FoxNow if you look inside that box You just might find the wily FOX They say she’s clever and she’s sly And you may ask the question “why?” It’s just because she likes farm hens And steals them right out of their pens Or maybe it’s her bushy tail That covers up her secret trail? Nobody really has a clue But you might spot her at the zoo
G is for GiraffeA creature that will make you laugh Is super-tall, it’s the GIRAFFE His neck is stretched to touch the sky He must get dizzy, it’s so high! You’ll see him eating purple leaves Right from the tops of thorny trees Since he’s so tall you’d surely think He’d need a straw to help him drink? I have no doubt he will see you But will you see him at the zoo?
H is for HippopotamusDown by the lake, what’s all the fuss? My gosh, a HIPPOPOTAMUS She opens up her mouth so wide You see her breakfast deep inside And when her head is not submerged She gets her ears cleaned by the birds And that’s not all, I swear there’s more She walks across the zoo lake floor I bet when she yawns, you do too But don’t get tired, you’re at the zoo!
I is for IguanaWhile you’re eating your banana Why not visit an IGUANA You’ll find him in the reptile pit Counting flies and spitting grit His forked tongue licks his lizard lips He wants to taste your fingertips His other treats are mice and bugs And if he’s hungry, even slugs Imagine finger-mouse-slug stew! That’s what’s for dinner at the zoo
J is for JackassNow tell your mom you’re not being crass But can you see the wild JACKASS? He’s not a donkey or a horse He’s half way in between of course They say he’s stubborn (not just thick) He likes the carrot, not the stick And if you only feed him straw He will protest – “hee-haw! hee-haw!” And if you’re called a jackass too At least you’ve seen one at the zoo
K is for KangarooGuess who’s hopping glad to see you? It’s bopping, bouncing KANGAROO I’ll tell you something, she can box She’ll knock you right out of your socks! And mommy kanga’s got a pouch Where baby roo can just hang out With all that jumping, kanga makes The most delicious roo milkshakes I’m sure you’re mighty thirsty too From all your bouncing round the zoo
L is for LionI hope that you have nerves of iron It’s time for you to meet the LION As you well know, he’s king of beasts And he thinks kids make tasty feasts When he roars, your legs will shiver And his teeth will make you quiver But in the zoo he’s behind bars So thank your lucky lucky stars He’s just a pussy cat that grew And now he’s king of all the zoo
M is for MonkeyNow what’s that over there, come see The swooping whooping mad MONKEY Look! He’s making silly faces Oops! He’s chewing on your laces Eeew! Now his finger’s in his nose He’s just like you, without the clothes Even though he is more hairy That’s just evolutionary He’s from your family tree, it’s true He’s like your cousin at the zoo
N is for Night OwlLet’s not forget the feathered fowl That fly the skies, like Miss NIGHT OWL She likes to hunt for squeaky mice And scoffs them without thinking twice Her head can turn the whole way ‘round (Just like some mothers’ heads, I’ve found) She sees so much with those big eyes That’s probably why she’s very wise She’s knows ta-whit, ta-what, ta-who She is the brains behind the zoo
O is for OctopusIt sure would be a shock to miss The multi-coloured OCTOPUS Go shake his hand (don’t hesitate) He’s holding out not one but eight! His skin can change to different hues (It’s hard to find him matching shoes!) And watch him close, or when you blink He’ll squirt your shirt with purple ink He’s got not one heart or just two But three, as you’ll see at the zoo
P is for PlatypusIf there’s a prize for wackiness It goes to the cute PLATYPUS He has a bill just like a duck But cannot quack (what rotten luck!) He swims in streams just like a fish But has no fins (to swash and swish) His tail is like a beaver’s (flat) But he lays eggs (imagine that!) It’s like his parts are stuck with glue From other creatures at the zoo
Q is for QuaggaTo spot the next one will be tougher Have you ever seen a QUAGGA? Half her body’s streaked with straight stripes Like the zebra, in blacks and whites The other half is brown and faint As if she just ran out of paint And even though she’s so distinct The sad thing is, she’s gone extinct (That means there’s less than just a few) But still, her photo’s at the zoo
R is for RhinocerosThere’s still a few treats left for us Can you find the RHINOCEROS? He’s got two horns upon his nose (But not the kind a jazz band blows) And if you tried to tickle him He wouldn’t feel it through his skin His eyesight is not very good I bet he thinks you’re made of wood (Let’s tap your head, see if it’s true) Now what else is there at the zoo?
S is for SnakeI’m ssssure there can be no misssstake That ssssilky rope is Mrssss ssssnake She likes to sssslither in the ssssun Or sssshed her sssscaley sssskin for fun Ssssilently she sssschemes and plots To tie her ssssupper up in knots And then she sssswallows as they ssssquirm Like ssssucking up a sssslimy worm Sssso sssstep back if she sssstares at you Or you’ll be ssssnack food at the zoo
T is for TortoiseSlow down, you wouldn’t want to miss The peaceful plodding Sir TORTOISE If you’re patient and kind as well He may just come out of his shell It’s true he’s slow around the track Because his house is on his back But still he won the rabbit race By sticking to his steady pace His slowness helps him grow old too So he’s the grandpa at the zoo
U is for UnicornWhat magic beast has just one horn? Of course, the fabled UNICORN It’s possible to see her, but Only if your eyes are shut And only if you have been kind Then she appears there in your mind Her mane is laced with pretty flowers And you can ride her back for hours I’ve heard all wishes can come true If you just glimpse her at the zoo
V is for VultureNow here’s a bird that’s lacking culture Have you ever seen the VULTURE? His beak is hooked, his shoulders hunch He likes a bag of bones for lunch I hope at home you never eat The way he does (on rotting meat) He’s always fighting over food Quite simply put, he’s vile and rude But give a bird respect that’s due He’s cleans things up around the zoo
W is for WhaleLook over there, a mighty tail I bet that’s from the big blue WHALE She’s bigger than a car or house So big that you feel like a mouse And have you ever heard her song? Sometimes it’s several hours long I wonder if she dreams big dreams And if she’s happy as she seems Why don’t you ask her if it’s true When next you see her at the zoo?
X is for X-ThingI’m sure you’re wondering what is next Well, so am I, it’s called an “X” That means it’s anything you like Maybe a monster nicknamed Mike? Or dinosaur without a head? Or peanut butter fish called Fred? It could be just your favourite cat? Or zog from space, come for a chat? Whatever you decide to choose We’ll see that X-thing at the zoo
Y is for YakIt’s nearly time for going back But first let’s go and see the YAK He used to live in far Tibet (A place you’ve never seen, I’ll bet) He’s like a cow, but he’s more bold His woolly coat’s made for the cold His milk is used for buttered tea I think that’s weird, would you agree? It’s good to find out something new What better place than at the zoo
Z Is For ZebraLast but not least is dear Debra She’s the stripy friendly ZEBRA She made the trip from Africa Where wildlife is fantastica She’ll tell you how when she got flyin’ She’d outrun the fastest lion Now she lives a life more tranquil And she’s secretly quite thankful She’s always happy to see you And hopes you’ll come back to the zoo
FarewellSo now you’ve done the thing to do (I hope you’re not still sad and blue) And since you’ve been down to the zoo To check what’s what and see who’s who Why don’t you tell a friend or two?
Wayne Visser © 2008
Wishing Leaves (book)