The city zoo


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Polina, whose pen name is Pelagaeya, is our most avid reader (i.e. she devours books as if they were cakes, reading several dozen every year). She wrote her first children’s story for InterestEng. when she was in 4th grade. This story is expanded from one she wrote in just 40 words as a writing exercise. Wanting to share it with others, Mrs.Chips agreed to team up with her and did photo-illustrations. The little book was then put online where Pelagaeya can share it with others.  

   ONCE there lived a man named Vasya. All his life he lived alone, but it is not because he was mean. He was very kind. How do I know that he was kind? Be patient and listen to the story and you’ll see. Vasya loved to paint. His pictures were beautiful  because they were full of kindness. He was already an old man when this story happened.  

     One day, when he was walking down the street, he saw a little boy. The little boy was asking his mother, “Can we go to the zoo today?”

     The boy’s mother said, “The zoo is in a big city, far away from here. Very far. And we don’t have money for tickets. I’m sorry.” 

     Her son tried not to cry.  “O.K., mother,” he said sadly.

     Vasya was sad, too. He remembered that when he was a little boy, he wanted to go to the zoo too.  But the zoo was far away and his mother also did not have money for tickets. 

     When Vasya finished buying a loaf of bread and some cheese for his supper, he hurried home carrying a very special idea with him. All that night he worked on his idea, thinking, planning, and drawing little sketches. Very early the next morning, while everyone was still asleep, he went to town carrying his paint brushes in his back pocket and a little sack of paints on his back. Day after day, early in the morning, he put his brushes in his pocket and the paint sack on his back and went to town. Soon, friendly animals were running down the streets, playing in the parks, and sitting on all the benches.  You could visit them whenever you wanted and without buying a ticket. Best of all, the animals were free. 

    “Who is making this wonderful zoo?” everyone asked. 

     But no one ever knew who the secret zoo maker was.                                                                                                                           


Jerry Kiesewetter

What do you see?  Please tell me a story.


Sebastian Villegas

If you sat on a bench and it moved, what would YOU do?



If you could play with a monkey today, tell me what game you would play.
(I may stay and play too, if it’s O.K. with you.)  

What animals live where there is ice and snow? 
What animals live there, do you know? 

How do they stay warm in the ice and snow. 
How do they stay warm, do you know?

What would you do if you saw a lizard looking at you? 
Would you ask him his name and invite him to play a lizard game?


How do you make an elephant move
who is not wearing his walking shoes?

Shane Rounce2

Tell me a story of where your shoes walk. 
What would they say if they could talk?!

Original photos courtesy, Unsplash!
1  Jerry Kiesewetter
2  Sebastian Villegas
3  Jon Flobrant
4  Alvan Nee
5  Jon Tyson
6  Jon Tyson
7  Shane Rounce

 ©preInterestEng. July 2013  §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff or used with permission.  §  To contact us: