Singing “Hakuna Matata” and teaching cubs to roar

by Mike on March 9, 2012 · 7 comments

Kids love animals! Thus, they must love me. Right?

I was a guest storyteller at Cartwheels & Coffee, a wonderful little place on Cary Street in Richmond, Virginia. I had a blast and I might even venture that a “wild” time was had by all! Evidently, according to the manager Mat, this was the largest crowd they’ve ever had. This place is genius. It’s a coffee bar/playroom combo. The coffee’s for the toddlers. Gotcha! The staff is friendly and the vibe is usually mellow — except when you a have a room full of roaring lions!

I channeled Pumbaa in a rendition of “Hakuna Matata” and led a room full of excited toddlers in a round of roaring. Check it out!

Click here if you can’t see the video above.

Note my son Max in the video, who very emphatically wanted everyone to know who his Dada was. He sort of upstaged me, to be honest.

The kids loved the story, “Is Your Mama a Llama?” which is one of Max’s favorites.  It’s a sweet story about a young Llama who is discovering the world around him by asking a bevy of young animals about what their mother is like.  He is curious, just like these teeny toddlers!  It also gave me a chance to do a lot of fun voices, which is a true actor’s challenge. Then I gave them all the chance to pretend to be their favorite animals.  I made sure to single out as many kids as possible, and asked them to choose what animal they wanted to voice next. They all have something to offer, and they’re usually hysterical.  It’s pretty wonderful to witness unbridled enthusiasm like this — is it rare to find it these days in adults!

I can only hope we find more places like this in upcoming cities. It really helped Ang and I feel like part of the local community, even in the short time we’ve been here. And it’s amazing to work with kids, and all the moms who showed (no dads except me in attendance!) were so friendly and happy to participate. I left exhausted — but in the best way.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie March 11, 2012 at 4:42 pm

We had a great time at the event! Mike was so good with the kids and my son said he was the loudest roarer 🙂 Thanks for doing it! What a special treat for us here in Richmond. I wish you luck on the road and look forward to reading about your next adventures.


Mike March 13, 2012 at 4:04 am

Thanks Marie for coming! I had just as much fun as the kids!


The Trent Family March 11, 2012 at 4:44 pm

THANK YOU for providing such a fun experience for my 3 kids, ages 4, 2, and 5 months! Everyone LOVED your story and song!!!!!! THanks again and Godspeed on your travels!!!!

Kathleen, Jack and Justin Trent


Mike March 13, 2012 at 4:05 am

Thank you Trent family! It was truly my pleasure!


Amanda March 13, 2012 at 4:03 am

Thanks for putting on such a good show for my daughter! Happy trails to you and your family.


Deborah Guarino September 10, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Hi, Mike, Angela and Max!
Just came across your March blog by accident via Google Images and was delighted by your reference to my book, “Is Your Mama a Llama?” I’m especially impressed by having it read by a professional cast member from “The Lion King,” as I’m a part-time actor myself and also enjoy “doing the voices” of my characters during the readings I perform at school author visits around the country.

So happy you’ve been able to use my book during your gypsy travels…if you’re ever in the New York/New Jersey area with the production (or any other), let me know…I’d love the chance to meet you all…especially little Max!

Deborah Guarino


Angela September 10, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Oh my goodness, Deborah! We are so glad you found us here in our little corner of the internet! Max really loves the book, and it was given to us for his 1st birthday by my best friend, who is a journalist and author in NYC. It’s a signed copy, to boot 🙂 We will definitely look you up when we’re back in the city – we are in and out.

Thanks for leaving us a comment – it’s thrilling to have the author of Max’s fave book to find us like this!

xo Angela


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