Can You Spot the Leopard? An African Safari

  • Written by Karen B. Winnick
  • Illustrated by Karen B. Winnick
  • Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group
  • ISBN-13: 978-1626349759
  • Ages and Grades: 7 - 9 years / Grade level ‏ : ‎ 2 - 3

Can You Spot the Leopard? is author/artist Karen B. Winnick’s newest picture book, an adventuresome African safari presented through poems and full-color paintings. Readers begin at sunrise, climbing into a jeep for a bumpy ride to view the wondrous animals as they would on a real safari. All the poems are based on real observations of what animals do in the wild, related in an accessible way. There’s even a sighting, finally, of the elusive leopard, before returning to safari camp under a starry night. At the back of the book, further information is related about each animal. A fun, informational, educational adventure to read and reread.

  • Write an animal poem.
  • Poems can be about something we see, and how we feel about what we see.
  • Study an animal photo, an animal video, an animal at the Zoo or your pet. Fold a piece of blank paper in half and take notes.
  • On the left side, describe the animal.
  • Is it large, small, furry, brown, spotted, striped, young, old, alone, in a group? What is it doing? Hunting, eating, playing, sleeping?
  • On the right side, put your feelings. Does the animal remind you of anything? Look like something else? What if you met it? What would you say? What would you do?
  • Using notes from both sides, compose your poem.
  • Draw or paint a picture to go with your poem.

Falling in love with animals, especially up close at the Los Angeles Zoo, I dreamt of going on safari in Africa. Finally, my dream came true! Morning to evening, I rode in a jeep over bumpy roads, viewing elephants and their young, zebras and wildebeests galloping, giraffes munching treetops, cheetahs hunting and lions resting. Hyenas, rhinos, hippos, warthogs, ostriches, and all sorts of colorful birds, so many wondrous animals! (Only the leopard was difficult to spot!) I watched closely and took notes on everything I observed. When I returned home, I shaped my notes into poems. I wrote them over and over and painted pictures in acrylic paint and opaque watercolor (called gouache) for each one until I thought they expressed my safari experience which I hoped to share.