Allie and the ZooKeeper
Our latest title, a rollicking adventure story about how your child manages to get Dandylion out of the Zoo and escape to freedom! The full text is below. Enjoy!
Book is available at https://manimaltales.com/products/the-zookeeper
It was a dark and chilly autumn day,
Everyone was glum, everything was gray.
This was not a day for Manimals to be out.
Dandylion though, refused to lie about.
“A long walk,” he said, “is food for the soul!”
But no one was willing to go for a stroll.
“It’s too cold!” said his friend, Knightingale.
Grumpopotamus’ agreed: “You’ll freeze your tail!”
Dandylion humphed and went on his own.
“Youngsters today have no backbone!”
The air was brisk; he sang out in delight:
“In the jungle, the mighty jungle, I will sleep tonight!”
Suddenly, he felt a sharp prick on his neck.
Suddenly, his little walk became a hard trek.
The whole world began to spin around,
And with a thump! he fell on the ground.
“Has anyone seen him?” Knightingale frowned.
Dandylion was missing; he couldn’t be found.
“He’s probably fine, hale and hearty,
But to be safe, let’s send a search party.”
Hours later, they admitted what all had feared:
Dandylion — their King — had disappeared!
When Dandy awoke, he was seeing stars.
He tried to walk but bumped into bars.
He heard a laugh so evil it chilled his spine.
“Cry away pussycat, but now you’re mine!
Welcome to your new life at ManTown Zoo.
I’m the ZooKeeper and I’m the boss of you!”
ZooKeeper was a thin, crafty-looking creature,
A long, crooked nose was his biggest feature.
On it was a wart, with a hair that grew a mile,
(It matched his bad teeth and crooked smile.)
“I was in the woods and heard you sing.
A singing Lion! What an amazing thing!”
You’ll be on stage every day, ten to six,
The crowds will love your singing tricks.
At five bucks a ticket, you’ll do just fine.
You’ll be my own personal gold mine!”
Dandylion let out a frightened mew.
No Manimal had ever been put in the Zoo!
It was almost too much to bear,
How was he to blow-dry his hair?
How would he keep his clothes clean?
The Zoo wasn’t known for its hygiene!
He had to send word to his Manimal clan,
So they could figure out an escape plan!
But how to send a message from this jail?
Dandylion thought and thought, to no avail.
Allie walked slowly behind her classmates.
How she longed to just run out of the gates!
She hated seeing animals locked up in the Zoo.
But this was a class trip, so what could she do?
“Help! Allie!” said a voice from the lion pen.
“Dandylion?” said Allie, “Is it really you then?”
“Allie, help me out of this horrid situation.
Tell the Manimals to get me out of this location!”
Just then Allie felt someone twist her ear.
ZooKeeper hissed: “What are you doing here?
In my zoo, little girls are best seen, not heard.
Now scram before I mash you into custard!”
The Manimals gathered to hear Allie’s tale,
About how she’d seen Dandy locked up in jail.
“He’s in the ZooKeeper’s clutches”, Allie said.
“The ZooKeeper!” Many felt a deep dread.
Braindeer said, “How do we get into the Zoo?
I’m the smartest here and I don’t have a clue!
The Zoo has more security than Fort Knox,
With many guards, cameras and fancy locks.”
“Freeing Dandy won’t be an easy expedition,
We’ll need a crack team for this mission!”
Allie said, “I’ll ride into the danger zone,
But I’ll need help, I can’t do it on my own.
EscapeGoat, you can chew through bars of any shape.
Knightingale, your wings can help with the escape.
Anonymouse, we need your ability to hide and disappear.
KarmaChameleon, master of disguise, you’re needed here.
Smellyphant, you’ll be the muscle for our crew:
With this team we’ll free Dandy from the Zoo!
ZooKeeper was in the forest again,
Looking for other Manimals to obtain.
“I’ll be rich,” he thought with glee.
“I just need one more, or two or three!”
Just then he heard a crash! near his trap,
Some large animal had fallen into his lap!
The creature was bigger than an elephant by half.
It was wider than a hippo, taller than a giraffe.
It had jaws to bite and eyes of flame,
And sharp claws to catch and maim.
It lay still in the net, held down by a rock.
Was it? Could it be? It was…a Jabberwock!
“I thought it was only a children’s story,
But this find will give me riches and glory!”
The night was dark, the silence was deep.
All the animals in the Zoo were fast asleep.
From the Jabberwock cage came a tiny squeak.
Suddenly, Manimals emerged from its beak!
“A fake Jabberwock,” said Allie, “was a great idea.
Now let’s free Dandy and get out of here!”
Dandylion was sitting in his cage in despair,
It’d been weeks since he brushed his hair.
Just then, he heard a tiny creaky sound,
Suddenly his friends were all around!
Dandy hugged them all one by one.
“Hooray!” he said, “I thought I was done!
Being locked up has been a real nightmare.
Did you bring me new clothes to wear?”
“Not so fast!” said a voice from the door.
Dandylion thought they were done for!
An evil shadow came out of the night,
And ZooKeeper stepped into the light.
“Silly fools!” he chuckled, with evil glee.
“You really thought you could fool me?
I’ll admit the Jabberwock plan was clever,
But now I’m going to lock you up forever!”
“I don’t think so,” said Allie, as cool as can be.
“Manimals, it’s time to switch to Plan B!”
But ZooKeeper pulled out his big dart gun,
And said, “Sorry, but your plan is done.”
The ZooKeeper shot darts at them all!
But none of the Manimals did fall!
“Your dart gun is no good ZooKeeper dear,
It’s only shooting harmless seeds here.
While you were asleep, Anonymouse
Switched out the darts in your house!”
“I’ll raise the alarm and call the guards,
You’re all going down like a pack of cards!”
ZooKeeper pressed a button on his remote,
And the alarm blared out an angry note.
At once, big guards came rushing out.
“Smelly, give the signal!” Allie did shout.
Smellyphant took a deep breath and blew,
His stinky trumpet echoed through the zoo.
In all the cages, the animals stirred.
Loud rumblings could be heard.
There were howls! and shrieks! and roars!
As all the animals charged their cage doors,
And the doors swung open freely!
And they escaped their cages easily
The guards, faced with a charging herd,
Turned and ran away without a word!
ZooKeeper was absolutely shocked.
“How did those cages get unlocked?”
“EscapeGoat ate through the locks, see,
It was all part of our Escape Plan B!”
“Aargh!” ZooKeeper howled in rage.
“They may be free, but you’re still in this cage!
I think it’s only fair that you take their place.”
With that, ZooKeeper picked up a big iron mace.
Allie said, “Now we’re going to teach you a lesson,
By giving you a taste of your own medicine!”
Near the ZooKeeper, a green leaf stirred,
And like magic, KarmaChameleon appeared!
He had one of ZooKeeper’s darts ready to go,
And he quickly jabbed it into ZooKeeper’s toe!
The ZooKeeper’s mouth went slack,
And his whole world became black.
The Zoo was empty; the Manimals had fled.
They had locked ZooKeeper up instead!
When Hoomans finally got the cage unlocked,
ZooKeeper babbled on about animals that talked:
“There was a girl who planned their nasty deeds;
A mouse that switched my darts for seeds;
An elephant whose trumpet smelled like farts;
A chameleon who jabbed me with one of my darts!”
The Hoomans shook their heads and felt sad.
Clearly ZooKeeper had gone quite mad!
“ZooKeeper we are going to let you go.
It’s best you rest a bit, take things slow.”
Since there were no more animals around,
The Hoomans turned the Zoo into a playground.
And without a Zoo, the ZooKeeper was no more.
He was just plain ol’ Harry working in a store.
Meanwhile in Manimal Forest, far away,
The Manimals were celebrating their getaway.
Dandylion was too busy bathing to say anything,
And the rest were fine not to hear from their King!
But if I may say something, it is this:
To have such great friends is absolute bliss.
In the end, that’s what you must try to do:
Surround yourself with those that love you!
Originally published at https://manimaltales.com on February 19, 2021.