When I first saw letter "A", my first reaction was A for... Sigbin!?!
The first time I heard of the sigbin was years ago when my grand-aunt told me she saw one. She said she saw it pass by their house while she was caring for her dying mother. And she went on to describe the creature. When I got older and saw a picture of a kangaroo, I thought it looked a lot like the sigbin my grand-aunt saw. Of course, she couldn't have mistaken a real kangaroo for the sigbin because she was in the Visayas when she claimed she saw one. (And even in Australia, would you really see kangaroos walking outside your house?)
Sigbin: "The Sigbin or Sigben is a creature in Philippine mythology said to come out at night to suck the blood of victims from their shadows. It is said to walk backwards with its head lowered between its hind legs, and to have the ability to become invisible to other creatures, especially humans. It resembles a hornless goat, but has very large ears which it can clap like a pair of hands and a long, flexible tail that can be used as a whip. The Sigbin is said to emit a nauseating odor."
Well, anyway, A is not for sigbin. A is for Aardvark. :-)
If you're not sure what an aardvark is (like I was), an aardvark is "a medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammal native to Africa. It is the only living species of the order Tubulidentata". Although it is sometimes called an anteater, it is not related at all to the South American anteater.
Here's an aardvark.
There are a bunch of other animals starting with the letter "a". Like ant, ape, antelope, asp, alligator. But, they chose the not too common aardvark. Well, the toy makers also chose this (instead of newt... nelephant, nobster and neopard ;p):
You might ask, what's that? Well, of course, it's a...
And, if you must ask again (like I did), what's that?
Narwhal: The unicorns of the sea. They live in the Arctic and are related to porpoises & beluga whales. The males have a spiral tusk.
And for the letter U, the toy makers chose this:
I know it's becoming obvious that I don't know my animals, too well but I always thought unicorns are mythical creatures? Shouldn't they have picked... (thinking of an animal that starts with the letter "u")... urchin?
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We don't just love Sandra Boynton's books. We love her music also. Listen to a clip of The Intermission Song sung by the Aarvarks from the Philadelphia Chickens Album-- here. (It's really cute!)
If you want to hear a song on sigbin, here's Original Sigbin by Junior Kilat*.
* Before Junior Kilat was Budoy of local Cebu tv and Pinoy Big Brother: Celebrity Edition fame, he was Sir Errol. My mom hired him to give me and my siblings art lessons. I remember him hopelessly teaching me about "negative space" and that beside the "darkest part is the brightest part" (or something like that). I knew I wasn't an artist when he tried to get me to look at things the way he did, but I couldn't. ;p On our last day of art class (he must have been so relieved that he didn't need to teach us drawing anymore), he taught us how to tie-dye our old t-shirts. Hahaha.