If I Were King

If I Were King

by Randa Handler

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One rainy day in the jungle, unlikely friends—Zebra, Lion, Leopard, Giraffe, Monkey, Elephant, and Chameleon—gather to lament how boring their daily activities are.  

Zebra, with her imagination and fun-loving nature, convinces the other animals to escape their mundane lives by pretending they are kings. Playing this game teaches them about their many differences and, more important, their own likes and dislikes.  

Zebra, upon discovering this information, realizes that it’s okay not to always want to play with other zebras as long as she listens to her inner voice and yields when it warns her of dangers or cautions her to maintain clear boundaries. Immediately she learns that Lion can stop being her friend when he’s angry or hungry.

Along her quest, she learns about everyone’s likes and dislikes, including her own, and discovers the true meaning of friendship.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781497660700
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 07/01/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 37
File size: 5 MB
Age Range: 4 - 8 Years

About the Author

Randa Handler is an author, international journalist, publicist, and publisher. Her interview with actor Rock Hudson (his last) was published worldwide. Her expertise in public relations made many products and personalities household names. She is the author of the Cubbie Blue and His Dog Dot series and If I Were King. Her educational series of children’s books are still being used as “lesson plans” by elementary school teachers. 

Read an Excerpt

If I Were King

By Randa Handler


Copyright © 2012 Randa Handler
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4976-6070-0


One rainy day in the jungle, a group of unlikely friends—a zebra, elephant, lion, leopard, giraffe, and monkey—came together, feeling bored and unhappy. So great was their unhappiness that they had no idea of the splendor around them. Vines of vegetation seemed to reach up and touch the emerald green tree branches cascading toward them. Glistening river rocks whistled with each drop of rain, luring birds of a thousand colors. But the bored and unhappy animals didn't notice any of it.

"Every day we do exactly the same things. We wake up at seven and roam around till noon chasing the same pretty butterflies," said Leopard.

"We retire at nine and sleep gazing at the moon," said Elephant, yawning.

"I can tell time by the things we do," said Giraffe.

"If for me every day were the same as the day before, I would go crazy. I don't like predictability. I enjoy trying different things every chance I get," said Zebra, batting her long eyelashes.

"Most everyone ends up stuck in a routine after a while," countered Elephant, heaving a long sigh.

"Routines are not for me. I refuse to be stuck in one," declared Zebra, swishing the tufted end of her tail.

Restless, Zebra took a quick run and returned to the group. "Listen, guys. Let's make today different. Let's change things around," she announced, inching closer to Lion—something she had never done before.

Gazing closely at Lion she thought, "What pretty mane—all colors of the sun. And such beautiful eyes. I didn't know there were so many pretty shades of gold. Big paws, though."

"Another lazy day, or is some fun on the way?" asked Lion hopefully, darting a puzzled look at Zebra.

"Fun is on the way, I promise. Why don't we play pretend? We could each pretend to be king of the jungle," Zebra suggested, smiling hesitantly while moving even closer to Lion.

"I'm already king. What fun is it for me to pretend?" Lion said, huffing proudly.

"I bet if you thought about it you'd find something else you'd really want to be," shared Zebra.

"I'm thinking ... Nope, nothing," said Lion, determined to stick to his routine.

"Well, I have an idea. Let's pretend I'm king and you're not!" exclaimed Zebra, grinning.

"That silly zebra sure is frisky. She's very close to me now and so into my turf I'm about to get annoyed, but fortunately for Zebra I'm too bored to do anything about it," Lion thought. A moment later he could hear Zebra's thumping heart, and he wondered, "Would anything ever make my heart skip a beat? Would I ever know what it feels like to be afraid?"

"OK, I'll play, especially if I'm prey," he roared, thinking it might be amusing to feel what life would be like for those less powerful than himself.

"Fine by me!" neighed Zebra, arching her back as far as it would go.

"Help, somebody. She's going to eat me! Where can I hide?" shouted Lion, pretending to panic.

"Quick, find a hut!" screamed Giraffe.

"Better hurry, Lion. I'm about to catch you!" bellowed Zebra, attempting to roar.

"Now, that's really special. Never before has anyone roared at me!" sputtered Lion between gusts of laughter.

Encouraged by their banter, Zebra decided to tease Lion some more, saying, "I can hear you breathing! You're really scared now, aren't you?"

The other animals laughed hysterically as they imagined Zebra racing after Lion. Then they too joined in the pretend chase.

"I'm pounding the hard earth as I run, making sounds like little earthquakes!" Elephant called out, "All the while my big feet have buried many huts. But Lion, now Zebra is as big as me so a hut will not do."


Excerpted from If I Were King by Randa Handler. Copyright © 2012 Randa Handler. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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