How the Leopard Got His Spots retold by Stephanie P. Gilman

How the Lepord Got His Spots by Stephanie P. Gilman
How the Lepord Got His Spots by Stephanie P. Gilman

today’s children storybook summary is

Title How the Leopard Got His Spots

Retold by Stephanie P. Gilman

Illustration by T.J. Tjornehoj

Storyline: This story is based upon the classic tales of Rudyard Kipling, the author of the Jungle Book, and it is one of the numerous version out there. Its protagonist, is a playful leopard named Henry.

At the beginning, all the animals that lived in the steppe had just plain fur or skin. Zebras didn’t have stripes, leopards had no spots and giraffes weren’t blotchy at all. This was good for Henry, the leopard. Because his fur was the color of sand, he could blend in the landscape and sneak up on his friends, zebras and giraffes, and spook them without being seen. But eventually his friends got sick being spooked and moved to the forest just to rid of Henry. There, underneath the canopy of the trees, where the light throws shades on the ground, zebras grew stripes and giraffes acquired blotches.

Left behind, the leopard was now bored all the time. He tried spooking little creatures, but it wasn’t the same and basically the couldn’t be spooked. One day, a mouse that had had enough of Henry’s tricks, told him to leave them alone and advised him to go try another spot and find his friends to sneak on.

The idea of finding his friends was appealing enough for Henry to move on. He searched and run and searched and run until eventually came upon a little forest where spots of light from the sun were projected to the ground. There, he thought he smelled zebras and giraffes, but he couldn’t see any. He decided to wait. When the night came and there were fewer shadows, he senses the zebra around. Getting into the sneaky crouch, he jumped and caught her.

As you may guess, the Zebra wasn’t so pleased that Henry found her. When she called for her friend Giraffe, the leopard saw that they both have a pattern on their skin, that’s why he hadn’t seen them, only sniff them. They explain him that if he stays in the woods soon he will be blending in the landscape just like them. Asked what kind of markings he wanted, Henry, the leopard, answered that he would like to have spots.

And so, hiding between the leaves, he got spots on the very places where the sunshine hit his fur. He was happy. He could now sneak even more efficient than ever before. Soon, he become the master of the Hide and Seek. And so the story goes…

But…in a footnote we find out that the leopard treated zebras and giraffes rather badly and they stopped being his “friends”. And it had lasted till the present days…

Characters: Henry, a sneaky leopard with sandy colored fur, zebra, giraffe, a mouse

Illustration: T.J. Tjornehoj is the illustrator of this book. He uses watercolor to depict the luminescent landscape of the plains and the shadowy world of the forest. His drawings are easy, yet natural. There is an economy of details that borders simplicity, but it could be just perfect for such story who emphasizes the lesson to be learned rather than the unity of the book itself.

Recommended Age: 5 to 7

Reading Time: 7 minutes

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