Saying hello to a king cheetah would have intrigued Chelsea. Like the naturalist, Reginald Innes Pocock, she may have thought at first that she was meeting an entirely new species . . . a coat with spots like a leopard, yet with stripes like a tiger, but sounding like a cheetah. Confusing? Later Pocock revised his thinking. Since May 1981 when two spotted sisters gave birth and each litter contained a king cheetah, the difference has been attributed to a mutation in fur patterns when a recessive gene in both the mother and father is present. I wonder if Chelsea had a picture of a king cheetah tucked away in the back of her head when thinking about a new way to play Hide and Seek.
In his book, People Like Me, Alan D. Thompson introduces his readers to ten amazing children who have been given ‘even more room to run’. He tells of a curious one year old who taught himself to read the newspaper. He knows other children at various ages from 1 year to 10 years who have a deep interest in dinosaurs, numbers, language, geography, astronomy, music, engineering, coding, inventions, science and chemistry.
Children like these need even more room to run, because our world needs them to grow and mature, to reach their potential, to become our mathematicians, our scientists, our educators, our explorers and inventors, our entrepreneurs, our leaders in their fields; or as Stephanie S. Tolan says, to ‘run like cheetahs at 70mph when they are fully grown’.
In Stephanie Tolan’s words, my stories are a welcome expansion of her cheetah metaphor. To complement these, I’ve compiled some puzzles/activities that may interest these children. They come directly from my books or require some general knowledge. The first puzzle answers and the new puzzle are here. Click here to download the puzzle.
Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre at hesc.co.za/species-hesc/king-cheetah accessed on 31st Oct 2017.
Thompson, Alan D. People like me. CreateSpace, 2017.
Tolan, Stephanie S. Is It a Cheetah? 1996. Web. 31st October, 2017.