Wishes at the Zoo

I wish I was an otter pup
out swimming in my pool,
and playing chasey with my friends.
now wouldn’t that be cool?
But listen to the noise I’d make.
‘Squeak!’ like a baby’s toy.
And all those fish I’d eat just stink!
It’s not what I’d enjoy.

I think I’ll be a pelican
who’s snapping with my bill,
and catching things the keeper throws  
with super duper skill.
But what I’d catch are stinky fish!
Oh no! It’s so unfair.
I’d have to swallow them all whole!
It’s more than I could bear.

Perhaps I’ll be a lion cub
who’s roaring on my mound,
and playing rough and tumble with
my sisters on the ground.
I wouldn’t have to eat raw fish,
but – yuck! – it’s uncooked meat!
Why do my best-loved animals
have horrid food to eat?

I guess I’ll stick with who I am:
a girl who’s at the zoo.
And when I eat my lunch I know
that it won’t make me spew.

© Kristin Martin 2013

A version of this poem is published in the book Tadpoles in the Torrens, edited by Jude Aquilina (Wakefield Press, 2013).


36 thoughts on “Wishes at the Zoo

  1. Hi Kristin,
    What gave you the idea of this poem? Why the zoo? Anyway, I loved this poem and I’m pretty sure my sister, Clara has read it to!

    P.S. My favourite animal at the zoo is probably the turtles!

    • Hi Caleb,

      My son gave me the idea for this poem when he was little (about 10 years ago!). We were at the zoo, looking at the otters, and he said he wished he was an otter. But then we head the squeak they made, and thought about what they ate, and that is how the poem started.

      I love turtles too. We have four pet turtles in ponds in our backyard!


  2. Hi Kristin,
    Now that I read this poem I wonder if I was an animal at the zoo which one would I be ??? If I could choose to be a human our an animal I would definitely choose to be a human !! Love the poem lots and lots can’t wait to hear from you again soon !!!
    Clara ❤️

    • Hi Clara,

      Did I tell you that I originally wrote this poem for my sons when they were little? The original version, which is in the book Tadpoles in the Torrens, has the narrator as a boy. I changed it to a girl when I edited it earlier this year (because I’ve got much better at writing rhyming poetry so I wanted to fix my mistakes!)


  3. Hi Kristin,
    I like how you listed the pros and cons of each animal and then you said that you would rather be yourself than any other animal. If I was to do a poem like this would say something like:
    ‘I want to be a gorilla but I don’t want to eat just leaves all day’
    (But in rhyming form!)


    • Hi Aden,

      I’m so sorry that I didn’t reply to your email earlier. I just found it (it was surrounded by spam comments!).

      I love your idea about the gorilla! Can you think of a way to write it that rhymes? It’s a bit tricky because gorilla has 3 syllables, so finding the right rhythm is more challenging.


  4. Hi Kristen
    That poem was really creative. I liked how you said the good and bad about the animals.I don’t know what animal I would be. What animal would you be?

  5. Hi Kristin
    This poem was so creative and nice to read. I enjoyed this poem a lot! I know for sure I would be a human visiting the zoo!! What would you be?

  6. Hi kristin i love going to the zoo its soo cool seeing all the animals especially the meerkat and monkeys my mum calls me a monkey because i like climbing everything from sophie

  7. Hello Kristin,
    were all these wishes true? well I wish that I was an elephant, I could eat bananas and fruits and some gross stuff but if I was a elephant I am sure that I won’t mind.

  8. I like zoo and when ever i get a place to visit i choose zoo. But i dont like to be an animal coz i cant play, eat yummy food etc. But I think animals are use to be in jungle and eat what ever they get. So they are happy with the way they live

  9. Hi Kristin
    I think I’d rather be a human too because we can eat nearly everything. Including yummy desserts like cake and ice cream!
    From Lysha

  10. I love going to the zoo, in the zoo my favourite animals to see are the Monkeys and the Pandas, but if I were to get a pet it would be a puppy and I would name it Galaxy what is your favourite animal to see at the zoo and what is you’re favourite pet and would you name it? I love you poem too!

    • Hi Nae,

      I like your comments on my poems. Thank you.

      My favourite animals to see at the zoo are the meerkats. My favourite pet is our bearded dragon, Ash.


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