Poem Activity

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At The Zoo

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Poem Activity

Have fun with the poem by trying this...

This poem cries out for movement and rhythm. Can you hear the strong beat? Start off clapping each word out, tune in to the pattern, then walk around while you're clapping. Then add some actions for each animal - have fun being a wombat waddling!

The final line breaks the pattern. Play with different ways of saying it – try a disgusted voice, an amused voice, a surprised voice. There is also a joke in the last line. Can you spot it?

Clue: look carefully at the rhyming words at the end of each line. If the poet had kept to this pattern, what word should he have used? Think about how you could perform the poem to 'get' the joke.

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First I saw the white bear, then I saw the black,
Then I saw the camel with a hump upon his back;
Then I saw the grey wolf, with mutton in his maw;
Then I saw the wombat waddle in the straw;
Then I saw the elephant with his waving trunk,
Then I saw the monkeys—mercy, how unpleasantly they-smelt!

At The Zoo

by William Makepeace Thackeray