Africa is full of wild animals and beast and in this fiction tale of animals in the wild; we find Kumani, the lioness trying to escape her wild habitat in search of a better place to raise her three cubs. Kumani is not your typical lioness because she hates hunting. She wants to live like a queen and be treated like a queen. She longs for a safe place to raise her cubs. With royalty on her mind and with her friend, Bantu the talking parrot, she sets out to find that special place. However, her search for such an idealistic place comes with danger and problems.
Targeted Age Group:: 6-10
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Inspiration for this story came to me one evening while watching a PBS documentary on TV about lions. I was amazed at how the lions live. I was even more amazed at how much responsibility the female lion has and how close the lioness pride is. I show these attributes in the story.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Since I knew this was going to be a lion’s tale after watching TV, I decided to create the storyline from the viewpoint of the lioness. The male lion is referred to as the “king of the jungle”, and for every king there is a queen. Kumani considers herself to be royalty too and living like a wild beast was a bit degrading for what she has in mind.
In a jungle far away lived a lion that was gloriously magnificent looking. Her silky, short hair was golden and looked like
the color of wheat growing in the countryside on a sunny afternoon. However, this particular lioness, in all her glory, had
a weak roar that seemed too gentle and soft. Her roar did not scare the other wild animals of the African jungles of her
home in Botswana, which is located in Southern Africa.
Although her roar did not intimidate any of the other wild animals, she did have something that was unique and grand, and that was her size. She stood twice as big as the other lionesses in her pride. Her huge muscular body looked as though it could do some serious harm to anything or anyone that tried to intimidate her or tried to take advantage of her cubs.
However, it was not her roar that had worried her. This lioness did not like being wild; and this, is what made her
different from the other lions. She did not care to live among tigers and zebras, and she did not particularly care to be
sharing the land with the hyenas, wild dogs, and coyotes either; especially with her three little cubs who were too curious
and free spirited. They were too young to be concerned about all the perils. Just like small children, they liked to romp around and explore their surroundings too much, not paying any attention to the dangers of the jungle. When it came to being wild, the lioness wanted no part of it, and she especially did not want any part of hunting, which goes with the territory of the jungle’s wildlife. The thought of hunting down food was too degrading for her. After all, she was a lioness, and in her mind that meant something regal and grand.
Why should she have to hunt when there are male lions around that could do this work?
She already knew the answer to that. It’s the way things are if you are considered wild and if you are a female lion.
Momma lion, whose name was Kumani in her pride, took good care of her babies. She was an excellent mother. She protected them with passion, always keeping a watchful eye on their whereabouts. She did not like them to get too far away from her in their risky adventures. Wherever she went, she made sure that her cubs were nearby or, at least, in the company of her cousins.
One evening, after coming in from a not so successful hunt, Kumani stretched out on the ground feeling quite sad and
miserable. She did not bring anything back for her cubs to eat as it was that time of the year when food was scarce. This
worried the lioness because she knew that if she, and the other female pride members, failed to bring home food for the
group it could present a big problem for her cubs. Not only could their cubs starve to death but also the male lions who
watched over their pride might eat them.
Kumani knew what it was like to lose a cub because one of her cousins had lost one — to a coyote. It was her poor cousin Sunni and she became distraught for months afterward. Kumani vowed never to experience such torment if she could help it.
“Do you like hunting?” Kumani asked one of the other lionesses who also returned without anything to eat.
“Of course I do,” replied the female lion, whose name happened to be Sheba. “I just don’t like it when the food is not
“Well, I hate it!” said Kumani. “I am not meant to hunt.”
“That’s because you are strange.”
“Why do I have to be strange just because I do not like to hunt?”
“Because, it is what we do,” said Sheba. “We females are the hunters, or in our case, the huntress. We provide for the
“And when we can’t provide, like tonight, then what?”
“We just wait and try again tomorrow,” said Sheba. “We have to have patience.”
“I believe there is something better, and I want something better,” said Kumani.
“Like I said, you are strange,” said Sheba. “That’s not our character.”
“It may not be your character, but it is certainly mine,” said Kumani. “I am a lioness. My cubs and I deserve better. I
believe a lioness and her cubs ought to be regal and treated as such.”
“What is a regal lion, my dear,” said the older lion not wanting to laugh.
“If our brothers or any male lion can be called kings of the land, it would only be befitting for us lionesses to be called
queens. And queens shouldn’t have to hunt for their own food.”
“Where do you get all this faulty information?”
“I got it from Bantu, the African Parrot. He tells me everything. He is the one that told me that I should be a queen.”
“Bantu is such a silly bird. How can you trust anything he says? If you ask me, he is a little coo-coo,” said Sheba.
“He is not coo-coo! He is very wise,” said Kumani defending her feathered friend. “He talks about everything and I think
that is amazing.”
“You may be a little coo-coo too for listening to that silly bird,” said Sheba. “And why do you assume you are going to do
better? You will always have to hunt!”
“I’m not sure,” said Kumani as she began to think. “All I do know is that I must leave these jungles for my own sake and
for the sake of my cubs.”
“Leave and go where?” asked Sheba who was getting a bit concerned.
“I don’t know, yet. But there must be some place in all of Africa that will be safe and hunting free for me and my cubs. We
do not have to stay in Botswana,” said Kumani as she held on to her dream.
“You are living in a fantasy my dear,” said Sheba as she licked her paws. “Your dreams are way too high.”
“Well, I am going to make my dreams come true, Sheba. You just wait and see. One of these days before too long, my cubs and me will be gone. We will be far away from here.”
About the Author:
Winona Rasheed was born in Troy, Ohio. Though she now resides in the Nation’s Capital of Washington DC, She says she will always be a Troy Trojan and a Virgo for life. This author has a country gal feel to herself. She is known by her friends as Nona or Nonnie.
Winona is very creative when it comes to writing and her creativity shows in her books for teens and young readers. She has written 10 books and working on number 11.
In Winona’s writing and creating world, she always says- “Once you have the writing bug, there is no cure for it. You just have to let your pencil dance and your thoughts flow if you want to be healed.”
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