Author: Roman Schatz & Pertti Jarla

A day at the zoo

23 December 2009 | Children's books, Fiction

Illustration: Pertti Jarla

Extracts from the children’s book Zoo – eläimellinen tarina (‘Zoo – a bestial story’, WSOY, 2009, illustrated by Pertti Jarla)

The place: A zoo, once the property of the city, now privatised and accountable to corporate stockholders

The characters: The animals of the zoo, in particular Gandhi, a Sumatran tiger (false-teeth, poor vision, pacifist), Che, a male mandrill baboon (militant), and Mother Teresa, a hammer-headed bat (elderly); the zookeeper Sihvonen (stands up for the animals, recently fired); the new zoo director (whose main goal is to maximise profits); the shareholders’ committee (awaiting their earnings)

The action: after a demonstration in which all the animals played dead, the animals are staging a revolution to demand that Sihvonen be reinstated


The animals crowded into the foyer. The hallway was full of every kind of creature, with all of their skin, fur and feathers steaming in the warm indoor air. Che stood at the top of the the stairs, looked down at his troops, and gave the order in mime for everybody to be quiet.

‘Reconnaissance?’ he said, his voice subdued.

‘Ready!’ the leaf-tailed geckos announced.

‘Head in!’ Che commanded. More…