We’re so excited to announce the arrival of the fourth original puppet show and book in our Puppet Stories series! My Wild Pets, suitable for ages 3 to 9, is the latest instalment in Marguerite Venter’s popular series for little ones.

In My Wild Pets, which is also available in Afrikaans as My Wilde Troeteldiere, our much-loved and by-now-familiar characters Beauty and Geo go on their latest adventure as they learn about the differences between pets and wild animals; about how to love, respect and care for all animals. We also learn about sea stars as we meet a sea star who journeys from the ocean to the Aquarium and in doing so becomes an ocean ambassador.

“I loved the fact that kids of all ages will enjoy this book - lovely simple colourful pictures for little ones and more challenging words and concepts for older kids. The talking characters are unusual and will fascinate kids, reinforcing the message. I like the fact that there are additional related resources available on the Aquarium website. Very empowering as a parent to find this kind of material. ” – Lindy Kusel

The fun, colourful book is filled with extra activities, such as “Brain Tickles”, vocabulary games, basic biology facts about sea stars and lessons about how we should take care of our pets.

If you already have I Live Smart, Keep the Beach Clean and I Love Turtles, you can complete the set by visiting the Aquarium or going online to buy My Wild Pets for R55. All books are available for purchase online or at the Aquarium.

Then, you can watch the My Wild Pets puppet show in our children’s play centre, which hosts puppet shows every day at 10h30, 13h30 and 15h30.

“I love how interactive this book is and how it encourages children to think for themselves. It has themes which are simple enough for younger children to understand, but can be discussed in a more in depth way with older children. The environmental lessons are easy for children to implement in their lives and are explained in a really relatable way. Especially fun for children who've been to the Two Oceans Aquarium and know the Touch Pool already!” – Claire van Dyk

Interview with the creator

We asked Marguerite, who also coordinates our Puppet Stories offering both in-house and through school visits, a bit more about My Wild Pets.

Marguerite Venter

Q: What inspired the theme “wild pets" for this book?

A: I wanted to create a story that teaches children to love and respect all animals, regardless of whether they are our pets, or wild animals, or insects. All animals, whether they are cuddly or scary, are equally important.

Q: What’s your research process when writing about the natural environment for children?

A: I try to pay attention to the needs of teachers, but also what is relevant at the time, what’s in the news and on social media. Once I have an idea I’ll take it to our Environmental Education Centre team and to my other colleagues, and get their input on whether they feel there’s a need for such a theme. We have great people working here and I generally consult colleagues when I need information. I have access to a great pool of knowledge right here at work!

Q: How do you think the Two Oceans Aquarium can contribute to children’s interaction with nature and animals?

A: When children take a walk in the park they can see birds and insects, but when they swim in the ocean the life that’s in it is mostly hidden, and that makes it harder to make the connection. So, the Aquarium provides a window into an otherwise very mysterious and inaccessible part of nature, but also a very important part of nature. The ocean sustains the world and we have to teach children that it sustains life.

Q: Will we see any new puppet characters in the new story, My Wild Pets?

A: We have a few new characters. For one, we had the sea star specially made, crocheted actually! I’d say half of our puppets are handmade locally, and the other half are imported from the UK. It’s easy to find the Big Five wildlife puppets here, but not so easy to find sea-life puppets.

Q: Can we look forward to future books..?

A: Yes, the series is not complete just yet!

Get all the books!

We have sold more than 20 000 copies of the Puppet Stories series over the last few years. These books are wonderful companions to our in-house and outreach Puppet Stories programme and are especially loved by children who are familiar with the Aquarium and its creatures.

You can purchase all four Puppet Stories books here at the Aquarium or online, they retail at R55 each. Click here to buy yours now.

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