At the gates to the zoo, Patricia and Luis’s mother was getting a stroller for their little brother, Marcos.
“No,” said Patricia as Luis tried to lead her through the gate. “I don’t want to go into the zoo.”
“Why not?” Luis asked.
“Because I’m scared. It’s full of all those big animals—and lots of big people too.”
“I’ll help you,” Luis said. “I’ll tell you a secret that Mother told me.”
“What secret?” Patricia asked.
“All the animals began as baby animals, just like we were once baby people,” Luis whispered.
“Yes.” Luis smiled at his sister. “Then the baby people grew into kids like us and kept on growing until they became big people. And the baby animals grew into kid-age animals and then grown-up, big animals—see?”
“I’m still scared,” Patricia said.
“Look,” Luis said, “cover your eyes and imagine a baby giraffe.”
She covered her eyes and saw a baby giraffe wearing a bonnet. Patricia laughed and said, “This is fun. Now it’s your turn. Cover your eyes and see a baby policeman.”
Luis imagined a baby policeman standing in a crib. He grinned. “OK, cover your eyes and see a baby bear.”
Patricia put her hands over her eyes and saw a baby bear sitting in a high chair. She giggled. “Cover your eyes and imagine a baby clown.”
Up went Luis’s hands, and he saw a baby clown holding a bouquet of balloons. Luis clapped his hands. “Cover your eyes and see a baby lion.”
Patricia saw a baby lion in a playpen. “Hands off,” she said. “See a baby whale.”
Luis hooted when he saw a baby whale swimming in a bathtub. “Cover your eyes and see a baby ticket-taker,” he told Patricia.
Patricia saw a baby ticket-taker taking tickets. “Hey,” she said, “cover your eyes and see a baby elephant.”
Luis saw a baby elephant brushing its tusks. “One more,” he said. “Cover your eyes and see a baby zookeeper.”
Patricia laughed when she saw a baby zookeeper feeding the giraffe. “Know what?” Patricia asked. “Big animals and big people aren’t so scary after all!”
“That’s right.” Luis smiled. “Let’s both cover our eyes and see what we will look like when we are grown-ups.”
They covered their eyes. Luis imagined that he was an astronaut, and Patricia imagined that she was a baseball player.
“Wow!” Luis yelled.
Patricia looked very happy. “I’m not afraid any more. Thanks Luis. Here comes Mommy. Let’s race her and Marcos to the gate and go see the animals.”