I don’t like the idea of the children going to zoos and safari parks – I hate them and the idea of the children seeing animals in captivity bothers me.
Yes, I went to zoos as a child, and yes I loved seeing the animals – they really are wonderful but I am also older know and understand more about the reality of zoos. We went to Berlin Zoo some seven or eight years ago (completely bought in the Knut polar bear stuff) and whilst I remember seeing the polar bear, I also remember feeling sad. He looked sad and lonely in his fake polar zone. I also remember telling a German child off for feeding crisps and biscuits to a goat in the petting area. I also remember being haunted by the big cat that was pacing its tiny tiny cage in frustration.
I have been looking for books and things that would help to demonstrate to the children why we don’t go to places that profit off the back of animals. We have been sent a lovely little book called Flyaway. The book by Lesley Barnes is quite quirky in some ways as it follows the story of a Princess who keeps a bird trapped in a cage. The bird escapes and is chased around the castle. She realises he wants to be free and her kindness is rewarded.
It’s a lovely book with a ‘lift the flap; on each page which sets the bird free and also has ten things on each page for then reader to hunt out and count. Mr D likes to look at this one when we have a quiet half an hour. He can’t always manage to spot everything on the page but he understands the idea of not keeping the bird trapped (i used the analogy of him never being allowed to leave his bedroom).
It’s such a sweet little book that just works so well on a few levels and would be a very pretty gift book.