The alphabet safari

African landscape, savannah, sunset vector illustration cartoon style

The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education programme presents a safari for the entire family to go on.

A SAFARI is a long trip through a large and beautiful land called Africa – a land known all over the world for its wild animals.

A safari gives travellers a chance to see these animals in their natural habitats, or homes.

Children are probably already familiar with many of the animals of Africa, such as gorillas, elephants, lions and zebras. But Africa is also home to many animals you may never have heard of before – gnus, impalas and kudus, to name a few.

This week’s Newspaper-in-Education (NiE) segment is written for the very young primary pupils. On this safari through The Star, children will not only get a chance to meet these animals and more, they can enjoy colouring the lively black and white illustrations on Pages 6 and 7 in this two-part series available this week and next Sunday.

Each animal in Alphabet Safari has an African name. According to the book, African Names by Julia Stewart, there are many African traditions that influence the naming of children.

Many are named for the time or day they were born, such as daytime or market day. Others are named for major events occurring at the time of birth. Regardless, the African names are rich in tradition and have many wonderful meanings.

Arabi the Aardvark

Arabi (uh-RAHB-ee) the Aardvark is a strange-looking animal. He has ears like a donkey, a snout like a pig, and a long, sticky tongue. Create your own strange-looking animal using the front page of The Star. First, circle 10 “A”s in a story. Then, make the body by drawing lines to connect the “A”s. Use crayons to add eyes, ears, a nose, and other features. Can you think of a name for your animal that begins with an “A”?

While on safari, read:

Inspector Aardvark and the Perfect Cake by Kathy Caple

Aardvark’s Picnic by Jon Higman

Babu the Baboon

Babu (BAH-boo) is one of several different kinds of baboons that live in Africa. Like the others, he is very smart. Show Babu how smart you are by circling the letter “B” eight times in The Star. Then, cut out the largest “B” you can find and paste it below the tree where Babu sleeps.

While on safari, read:

Bitter Bananas by Isaac Olaleye

Zoo City by Stephen Lewis

Changa the Cheetah

Of all the animals in Africa — and the world — Changa (CHAHN-gah) the Cheetah is one of the fastest. Find out how fast you are at finding some letters on the front page of The Star. While your parent times you, circle as many “C”s as possible in a minute. When your minute is up, count the “C”s and write the number on the tip of Changa’s tail.

While on safari, read:Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions by Margaret Musgrove, illustrated by Leo and Dianne Dillon

Dia the Dromedary

Dia (DEE ah) the Dromedary is a camel, but he only has one hump. He uses it to store food for the long trips he takes across the African desert. Let’s pack some extra food for Dia’s next trip. Cut out newspaper pictures of something to eat. Paste one of it onto Dia’s picnic basket. Do any of them start with the letter “D”?

While on safari, read: Beasties by Louise Binder Scott

Elima the Elephant

Elephants, such as Elima (ay-LEEM-ah), are the largest animals on land. Only the giraffe is taller, and no other animal has ears and teeth (tusks) as big as Elima’s and her friends’. Some letters in The Star are larger than the others. Cut out four large “E”s and four small “E”s. Paste the large ones on the left side of the page and the small ones on the right.

While on safari, read:The Great Big Elephant and the Very Small Elephant by Barbara Seuling

The Elephant’s Ball by Evelyne Johnson

Farah the Flamingo

Farah (FAIR-rah) and her flamingo friends are beautiful birds with feathers of red or pink. They also have long legs that look like stilts. The word “flamingo” begins with an “FL” blend, two letters that create one sound. Find some words in The Star that begin with “FL” or other blends. Circle them with a red or pink crayon.

While on safari, read:Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni

The Dictionary of Birds in Color by Bruce Campbell

Gezira the Giraffe

Gezira (juh-ZEER-uh) the Giraffe lives in Africa’s grasslands. Like her friends, she uses her long neck to reach leaves and fruits up high in the trees. Find some “long” words in The Star — words with more than seven letters. Cut out the longest word you can find and paste it here:

While on safari, read:Your Pet Giraffe by Bobbie Hamsa

Helga High-Up by Marjorie Sharmat

Hari the Hippo

Hari (HAH-ree) the Hippopotamus is another big animal. He also has a big name. Count the letters in the word ‘hippopotamus’ to see for yourself! Now cut out letters from The Star that spell H-I-P-P-O-P-O-T-A-M-U-S. Paste them onto Hari’s body. Can you find any more newspaper words with 12 or more letters? Circle them with a red crayon.

While on safari, read:Hiccup by Mercer Mayer

Oops by Mercer Mayer

Imani the Impala

Impalas like Imani (ee-MAHN-ee) are African antelopes, animals that look like deer. They are fast runners and can jump high. Look through The Star’s sports section for pictures of people running and jumping. Then, cut out words from the sports pages that begin with each of the letters in the word I-M-P-A-L-A. Paste the words underneath Imani.

While on safari, read:Imogene’s Antlers by David Smith

The Midnight Farm by Reeve Lindbergh

Jojo the Jackal

Jojo (JOH-joh) the Jackal is actually a dog — a wild dog. He is called a “scavenger” because he roams the land hunting for food. Go on your own scavenger hunt through The Star. Find and circle eight “J”s, three “A”s, one “C, ” six “K”s, a capital “A” and five “L”s. For fun, look through The Star’s comics for a dog — wild or not!

While on safari, read:Moja Means One: Swahili Counting Book by Muriel Feelings, illustrated by Tom Feelings

I Spy: An Alphabet in Art by Lucy Micklethwait

Kali the Kudu

Kali (KAH-lee) is a kudu, another kind of antelope that lives in the grassy parts of Africa. She eats the grass, as well as sprouts. Add some “colour” to Kali’s diet. Find some different-colored foods in your newspaper’s food section. Cut them out and paste them beside the kudu. Write the letter each food begins with underneath its picture.

While on safari, read:The Talking Eggs by Robert San Souci

Alphabeasts by Dick King-Smith, illustrated by Quentin Blake

Luki the Lion

Called the “king of beasts, ” lions like Luki (LOOkee) are among the most famous of all animals. Their loud roars and great strength make them leaders of the animal kingdom. Look through The Star for pictures of our leaders like the king or the prime minister. Then cut out newspaper letters to spell the word L-E-A-D-E-R. Paste them around Luki’s crown.

While on safari, read:Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus, illustrated by Jose Aruego

Andy and the Lion by James Daugherty

Mona the Monkey

Mona (MOH-nah) and her monkey friends are lively, playful animals. Help entertain Mona by finding newspaper pictures of people playing sports. Cut out the pictures and make a collage on a separate sheet of paper. Then cut out newspaper words that begin with the letter “M” and paste them onto Mona’s ball.

While on safari, read:Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

Curious George by H.A. Rey

Hope you had fun with us. Be sure to catch Part Two next Sunday.

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