The ordinary animals we know often touch us more fundamentally than the extraordinary ones we read about. This was clear to me this week in the Lilja students' work. Two children chose to write about ordinary family pets.
The Lilja students are a group of 1st and 2nd graders from the Natick Lilja Elementary School. A few months back I visited with them in their classroom. For the past few weeks I've been posting their artworks and stories on Monday's Beast.
Interacting with my dog Snookie on a daily basis gives me much more satisfaction and knowledge in to the lives of animals than I could ever get from reading or watching videos. His personality, with all its complexity is a constant source of wonder and fascination for me. So I understand why, in a world full of hero animals and strange animal friendships, an ordinary guinea pig and two family kittens were chosen by Lilja students.
The Lilja students have done a wonderful and entertaining job choosing, painting and writing about individual animals. Therefore, the Bestiaryist is taking a break for the summer. For the next several months the job of Monday's Beast will fall to my assistant Bestiarists in training. Enjoy their beautiful work.
Also Monday's Beast is now over a year old. We'd love to receive some comments from our readers. Please let us know what you think of the website, what Monday's Beasts you have particularly liked and anything else that might be on your mind about individual animals or animal art.
Two Kittens by Dominik, age 7
One day two cats loved each other. They were friends. Their names were Chica and Whitey. They live in Poland at my grandmother’s farms. They can jump really high- up to my waist. And they are really cute.
The Blind Boxer by Zak, age 7
This dog is blind. It became good friends with a goose. The goose chases everyone else away, but it loves the dog.
Hero Cat by Gabe, age 8
A cat named Scarlet saved all of her kittens from a fire and she LIVED! She was a calico cat. She was an amazing animal because she saved herself and her five kittens from a dangerous fire. I think she is a hero!
Pig and Dog Friends by Keiralyn, age 6
A newborn pot-bellied pig was born on a farm in Germany. It was freezing. The farmer brought it home and his Rhodesian Ridgeback took care of it. Once the parent pigs showed back up, the piglet was re-introduced to its family, but it remained extra friendly to the farmer and the dog.
Macaque, the Dove's Friend by Cristian, age 7
This macaque was very lonely and didn't have any friends or family. He was weak. People found him, took him back to a station and put him in a room with a dove. The macaque hugged the dove. When the macaque was bigger, they released him back into the wild. I like monkeys. I want to go to China to see macaques like these. I liked how the macaque and the dove were friendly to each other.
Stuck Friends by Xavier, age 7
In 2009, May was when new animals were born. A young deer was wandering weakly around an area where a fire had started. The deer cried. A bobcat was already in a wildlife center where the deer was taken to. The people who worked in the wildlife center put the two animals together because they had no choice (which was just what the young animals needed). As soon as the people who worked there left the two animals, they went right to sleep. The animals were weak and exhausted. They cuddled up as one. They were only together for a few hours until the workers found a separate room for the deer (fawn). But the deer and the bobcat wanted to stay together! The fawn was moved to be with a deer herd, and when it was a year old the whole herd was set free. I know that a bobcat is a predator and a deer isn't, so the bobcat would probably have normally eaten the deer, but they ended up as friends. I really like that they became friends!
Little Pink Pup by Lucia, age 8
A dachshund mother adopted a pig from a barn because all of the brother and sister pigs pushed him out and didn't let him eat. The dachshund mother took care of him and her other pups. When the pig got older and older, he had to go back to living in the barn because he was so big. They stayed friends even when the pink pup was big.
Guinea Pig by Will, age 7
This is my guinea pig. It is special because it learned how to use the litter box.