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Enjoying the Zoo

Explanation of Answers

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These questions are somewhat harder because much has to be inferred from what the little boy says.

1. What did the boy like best about the zoo?

A. porcupines
B. penguins
C. polar bears

Correct Answer (A). The boy really liked the porcupines which are mammals from the rodent family that have long needles on their skin used for protection.

2. What did the elephant do at the zoo?

A. The elephant kicked dirty food in their direction.
B. The elephant sprayed water at the children.
C. The elephant tossed dirt at the people.

Correct Answer (C). The boy says that the elephant threw dirt on them with its truck.

3. According to what little the boy said, what can we infer about the bird show?

A. One of the birds performed exactly as expected.
B. A bird didn't mind the trainer very well.
C. They couldn't see the birds from where they were sitting.

Correct Answer (B). This question is somewhat ambiguous because you have to try to piece together the meaning from the broken speech of the little boy. He said: "Um, did, to, thing, what you . . . it the . . . the man what it could not do." The words thing, man, and what it could not do seem to indicate that the bird didn't perform what the bird trainer told it to do. Like all kids' speech, you have to decipher meaning from what little, disjointed sentences they produce, and then piece together meaning with the context of the utterance.

Don't expect to find such a question on the TOEFL test since the boy's statement is, in many ways, still left to interpretation.

4. Where did the boy see the butterflies?

A. inside a glass enclosure
B. in a wire building near the bird show
C. flying around the zoo

Correct Answer (A). He saw the butterflies inside a glass building or enclosure.

5. What does the expression, "Sleep tight" mean found at the end of this conversation?

A. It refers to the idea of wrapping yourself up in blankets to keep warm.
B. It represents the feeling of having good dreams throughout the night.
C. It makes reference to old-style beds that used ropes to hold up the mattresses.

Correct Answer (C). This is an older expression that makes reference to pioneer-style beds from the 19th century and earlier. Such beds used straw mattresses that were supported by ropes tied underneath. If the ropes weren't drawn tight, the person might fall through to the floor.

Also, the mattresses often contained dust mites (small bugs) that feed off the straw and would even bite the sleeping person. These bugs are still found in areas that have humid climates, and even today, it is difficult to get rid of them.

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