What would a boar text to a pig, a camel post on a dating site, or a goat shout from the mountaintops? In this unforgettable poetry collection, even-toed ungulates take the spotlight. Ever asked a giraffe about the clouds, read an okapi’s letter to the editor, or debated which gnu would win the race across the Serengeti? Playful poems and whimsical illustrations feature hoofed creatures from all around the world, from Siberian musk deer to African dik-diks to South American vicuñas.
Weaving together humor, scientific detail, and a poignant concern for conservation, Leave a Message in the Sand introduces readers to wild creatures with even wilder things to say.
Hey there, you walking watchtower
with your long-necked superpower!
You can see your way above the crowds.
But what’s it like so near the clouds?
Don’t you feel cold all the way up there?
Can you even breathe the air?
Does the rain blow wet and the wind blow dry?
Do you bump your head upon the sky?
Do you ever trip and fall?
Don’t you ever get tired at all?
How does the blood reach your brain?
Hey, and is the rainbow full of rain?
The giraffe has a heart
as strong as a slingshot.
A powerful pump —
thud, thump, thud, thump.
With every beat,
the blood shoots around,
making an impressive sound,
whooshing and gushing and raging and roaring,
up through that endless neck and up and up,
through thick, thick veins,
to power the giraffe’s distant brains.
that heart of yours,
that hellish hammer,
that drives the blood up into your head,
could we borrow it for a moment?
And your neck too?
To see if what people say is true,
that rain begins up there as snow
before it falls down here below.
Put your phone on silent,
What’s it doing out in the open
Why is it standing there, stamping away,
|Risking its own life,
the bongo ventures out of
the jungle every night.
To hunt for salt and sand and mud,
and pieces of burnt wood,
for sodium, magnesium,
copper, calcium, and zinc.
It eats all the minerals in sight
to make itself glow bongo bright
cheeks and ribs and hooves and skin
or else its bongo lights go dim.
Clean white coat growing crusty.
Shiny gleam turning dull and dusty.So, Bongo,
quickly lick your lights back on
and trot into the jungle,
to shine and glow among the green,
hidden away, somewhere unseen,
in a nice, snug spot that’s safe for prey,
where you can put on your own
private light display.
Annemarie van Haeringen is the illustrator of Scout’s Heaven (Eerdmans), Coco and the Little Black Dress (NorthSouth), How to Knit a Monster (Clarion), and Mr. Matisse and His Cutouts (NorthSouth). She is a three-time winner of the Golden Brush Award, given to the year’s best illustrated book in the Netherlands, and has also received the award’s silver honor.
Visit Annemarie’s website at www.anne marievanhaeringen.nl.