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Marcelo Wakes up the Zoo.

The words to an illustrated children's book which explores empathy, kindness and getting help from unexpected places within the community.

Photo of Kate Bea
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Describe the intended vision for your early childhood book manuscript in 1-2 sentences

This is a book, with repetitive phrases, that can be enjoyed by children and adults. The repetitive content will help children to become familiar with the book and parents and care givers will be able to join in; creating a 'together' reading experience. Children love to hear the same stories over again, especially if they know the repetitive phrases and I hope, with the familiar animals, Marcelo Wakes up the Zoo could become a favourite book.

Share your suggested book title

Marcelo Wakes up the Zoo.

PLEASE USE THE VERSION OF THIS QUESTION AT THE TOP OF THE SUBMISSION FORM: Share a draft of your manuscript (250 word limit, not including title).

DRIP-DROP DRIP-DROP SPLISH-SPLOSH SPLISH-SPLOSH. MARCELO the snub-nose monkey and Clara, the Mongoose Lemur were walking to Philadelphia Zoo Community School, when it started to rain. ‘Marcelo take cover!’ Clara shouted. But it was too late! ‘Aitishoooooo!’ ‘WHAT’S the racket? ‘said Pete the Slender-Tailed Meercat. ‘Sorry, I’m allergic to rain.’ And, as if to prove the point, Marcelo sneezed again … Aitishoooooo! And again, Aitishoooo! The rain was getting harder … DRIP-DROP DRIP-DROP SPLISH-SPLOSH SPLISH-SPLOSH. ‘Aitishoooooo!’ ‘Shhhh, Marcelo, there are some animals we DEFINITELY don’t want to wake.’ But …they heard someone say: ‘What’s that terrible noizzze?’ It was Drake the Timber Rattle Snake! ‘I’m snoooozzzing.’ ‘Sorry,’ Marcelo whispered, ‘I’m TRYING to be quiet.’ Suddenly, from behind them, Marcelo and Clara heard a very loud ROAR! .‘I’m trying to sleep,’ growled Makini the African Lion. He stretched his legs; flicking his tail in Marcelo’s face making Marcelo sneeze again. ‘Aitishooooooo!’ ‘Is it breakfast time?’ Makini said. Marcelo and Clara ran as fast as they could to the school gates. When lessons had finished for the day, Marcelo and Clara began their walk home. As they got to the school gates, in the distance, they could see Pete, Drake and Makini. ‘RUN!’ Marcelo shouted. ‘Wait Marcelo, please wait we’ve bought you a present.’ Pete waved a brightly coloured umbrella. ‘It’s Beautiful,’ Marcelo said, ‘It will definitely stop me from sneezing.’ ‘And it means I will definitely sleep through breakfast,’ Makini said with a wink.

How has this book been informed by early childhood language development research and evidence? (response minimum 250 Characters)

Repetition helps improve speed, increases confidence and strengthens the connections in the brain that help children to learn. I have also read that repetition, and familiarity of words, can help children store word sequences. Reading aloud every day helps children learns lots of new words which has an impact on language development; if a child loves a book they will ask for it over and again creating a bonding experience for caregiver and child.

Please describe any familiarity you may have with Philadelphia and its residents? (optional question)

Sorry, I have no familiarity with Philadelphia other than what I have read on your site about the people in the area. This is why I have set it at the zoo because this is a well-known reference point in the city and because my story is about wild animals.

How have you crafted this manuscript to resonate with and/or reflect the experiences of those living in urban contexts? (optional question)

The story is about tolerance and friendship. It is also about empathy; getting help and support from unexpected places within a community. On a literal level, it is set Philadelphia Zoo as many children and care givers will have visited the zoo and know the animals in the book. I hope, as a result of the familiar setting, children and care givers will love to re-read the book.

Location: Country


Location: City


Tell us more about you / your team

I have been a journalist for many years but, in the last couple of years, I returned to university where I completed a Master's Degree in Writing for Children. I love to write but I also like to encourage other people to write; I have a special interest in creativity.

Provide an example visual identity for a look and feel you might like to achieve. ( (optional question, 3-5 visuals)

Multiple Choice - Have you been previously published (online, self-published, and print included)?

  • Yes

If yes, please list titles and publications.

Not as an author.

Do you have an agent?

  • No

How did you hear about the Challenge? (optional question)

  • Someone in my network (word of mouth)

What best describes you? (optional question)

  • I am/we are creatives, writers, or artists


Join the conversation:

Photo of Itika Gupta

Reading through the ideas, I came across another storyteller Steven who is also exploring the idea of a story where zoo animals help each other. Connecting you two [ Steven Wagner  and @Kate Bea ] to provide a couple lines of feedback to one another’s manuscript submissions.

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