"ABC African Animal Book" By A 7-Year-Old

When I was in first grade, I wrote and illustrated a book which I read aloud at the school talent show. [Ed. note: This spectacular book is part of keepsake show and tell]

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After I'd finished about half the drawings, I started to get bored with rote depictions of animals in their natural habitats, and my illustrations started to get a bit more ... creative.

Here, for example, we have an ibis who's apparently just locked a bad guy in a cage or prison of some sort, and is also dressed to attend a birthday party. Or maybe he's some kind of rather flamboyant wizard? I can't recall.

Can you see the ostriches? There's one in the middle of the page, who's just punted Scar over a waterfall with a kick of one of his mighty ostrich legs.

Depicted here is some sort of epic battle, featuring ostriches, chameleons, hyenas, characters from The Lion King, and a large arsenal of missiles on both sides.

Now that's more like it!

This image features, among other things:

• a lemur with a police badge on his chest and a sign saying "Lemur" taped to his forehead

• two chameleons gesticulating angrily at some warthogs

• and a gray character who appears to be either rudely mocking someone, unhinged with fury, or perhaps both simultaneously

Urotriorchis macrourus is the scientific name for the Long-tailed Hawk, and was the closest thing I could find to an African animal whose name started with a U.

"Macrourus" is from the Greek for "long tail"; "uro" is Greek for "tail" and "triorchis" is from the Greek meaning "having three testicles." I was unaware of that fact at the time.

So, since this is an alphabet of African animals, you all knew from the beginning that the last animal was going to be "zebra" OH SNAP NO IT'S "ZEBU"!!!

The zebu is a type of domestic cattle originating in South Asia that has been raised in Africa for hundreds of years. It's pretty obscure; you probably haven't heard of it.

Oh man, I totally had you fooled! I even tricked you by decorating the "Z's" with black and white zebra stripes.

This is the back cover. Here we have, let's see:

• a white chess piece knight on a checkered path of some kind

• a bunch of hyenas (they had haunched shoulders and gangly hips in The Lion King, features which I depicted in a manner that makes them look the twin humps of Bactrian camels)

• and a grey hyena who is A) apparently a good guy, or at least disguising himself as one, B) sporting a purple bandana and cape, and C) also maybe some sort of cyborg, with mechanical spider legs - and maybe that cape is actually an exhaust pipe?

View this video on YouTube

My performance at the Talent Show (with assistance from my mom).

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