It’s fun and easy to tell children stories about animals with human characteristics—a talking teddy bear, a detective dog who writes reports or a toad who drives a motor car on the high road as in Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows.
But many children are also curious about the real lives of real animals. Surprisingly often fascinating real life animal stories can be ripped right out of the headlines as was the case recently when the world learned that a new mammal had been identified. How scientists found the Olinguito in the mountains of Ecuador and Columbia and what the little teddy bear creature is like is a fascinating and easily googled tale.
Another excellent way to hook a kid’s interest in authentic animal tales is to imbue your story with drama. For example if you live, or vacation, near the ocean your children will probably come into contact with seals or sea lions. So how about proposing a story titled The Six Weirdest Things About Seals. One of these would surely be that virtually all 32 varieties of seals from the largest, the up to two ton elephant seal, to the smallest, the 65 pound Galapagos fur seal, swallow stones. And despite many theories no one knows for sure why seal’s tummies are full of rocks.
Want to know something else strange about seals? Assuming you answered yes, you should already see how much fun this kind of story approach can be. And hey, because you’ve been a good sport in reading this far I’m going to tell you a really weird seal fact. It turns out that some seal species have evolved from bears that re-entered the water in the misty distant past, while others are the descendants of otters. Apparently the need to swim and fish efficiently led both groups to evolve and create animals with a streamlined body and powerful flippers.