When I was little, my mom used to tell me, "Leon, look for the good in others and others will see the good in you." She would look at me with one eye and look at dad with the other eye, then she would change colors.  I change colors also.  There's no getting away from it when you're a chameleon.
Leon's Jungle Friends
When the ship arrived, they followed the water's edge for days until finally it led them to a jungle stream.
They lived there for a long time before they moved again to a place very close to a volcano.  My sister went to live with them.  The name of the place is called Lizardville.  You can see all kinds of lizards there. 
My mom and dad came from America.  They were born in a place called a zoo.  They wanted to live in the country of their ancestors.  So, long before I was born, they hid inside some brown boxes on a cargo ship taking supplies to Africa.  They often told me stories about different kinds of lizards who came with them.
 
 
Sam, a salamander, can't stay out in the sunlight very long.  That's just the way it is with salamanders.  They can't take the heat. 

Sam has a lot of good things going for him though. His skin is always soft and smooth, with no scales. 
 
 
 
      Although Sam may look like a lizard, he is not even related to lizards.        "Salamanders are salamanders and lizards are lizards," I heard my dad say one day.  "But they are both reptiles and I can't see any reason why they can't get along!"
Igor is a lot younger than Doc and myself.  He is bigger now than any of us. He has grown up to be six or seven feet long!  
     
Igor made a loud drumming noise with his throat and got everyone’s attention. "Okay, Boris is here.  Listen to him!”
Boris cleared his croaking throat.  “These are the rules. Anyone who touches another lily pad, or the lizard on it will be thrown out of the race. When you get to the last turn before the waterfall, go to the water's edge. 


 
A rumbling sound came from the direction of the stream.  "Don't be afraid,"  Sam told the other lizards.
"That was a crocodile and he is calling for his mate.  He will not come to our campfire."
 
A hoot owl called from the trees and the sound of wings of bats flying over our heads was enough to let us know to take cover.
 
Doc was greeted with cheers and given a lily pad flower that was full of yum-m-m-y flies, mosquitoes and other insects. "Pretty soon it will be dark.  Let's find a warm spot and have a feast."  Doc piled the treats on a rock and we ate.
We found our way deep in the jungle where we came to a small fire that had been used by humans to cook food.  The fire kept the sand warm as we gathered in front of it.  It was dark now and we began hearing sounds of the animals that only come out at night.
 
I made a home for myself under some sticks and branches.  It is a nice little cozy home close to a sandy beach.

One day the other lizards decided to have a lily pad race.  All of the different lizards came to enter the race. There are about three thousand different groups of lizards.  Each group is given a different name. There is something special about each group. 
A duck with a bannner led the jungle animals to the starting point of the race.  A singing frog, a lion and a turtle made music on their instruments.
The first lizard who hands his lily pad to a striped race-runner on the bank by the waterfall wins the race.  Does everyone understand these rules?" he asked. 
 
The crowd answered with a squeaky "Yes!"  All of the lizards grabbed a lily pad and lined up side by side in the water.
 
Boris croaked out the starting command, "R-R-R-I-G-U-P! Get on your mark!"
“R-R-R-I-G-U-P!  Get set!"  Boris shouted the second order.
 
Then Maggie the monkey, who was sitting on a tree branch, threw up her hands in the air and shouted the last order.  “GO!”
 
And we all put our hands and tails over the edge of our lily pads.
 
I was doing very well in the race until I was distracted by a bathing beauty on a lily pad.
Doc, Igor, and I belong to the lizard family. Doc is a draco lizard. He can leap out of a high tree and when he stretches out his arms the extra skin under them becomes like wings. I guess that's why he won the race.  His arms were just like wings of a bird and he used them to move faster and faster down the stream until he got to the finish line.
 
Each of us lingered near the campfire, so the bats would not come near us.  We made our beds in the sand. 
 
As we started to drift off to sleep, I heard Doc telling everyone that we all need each other to go on with life.  I had discovered he was right.  Now I’m a happy camper!
 
The gifs are really what brings these illustrations to life.  Many thanks to Gifs.net, Feebleminds animated gifs, Anne's Gifs and the list goes on.  If you see your gif and do not see your name credited in the Leon the Chameleon web site, please click on my name and send me an email and I will add your name on the list and a link as well.Laurie Foston 
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© Original character created in 1981 under the title Leon the Chameleon, by Cheryl Henry Hodgetts, aka Laurie Foston.  This version of Leon's Jungle Friends was created for the Internet and does not include the entire plot but was condensed from the actual work in book form.  Leon's Jungle Friends, Leon's Capture and Leon's Lucky Day are sequels to leon the Chameleon and are the intellectual  property of Cheryl Henry Hodgetts, aka Laurie Foston.  Gifs are donated by Gifs.net, Feebleminds Animated Gifs and many others.  Check out the official Leon the Chameleon web site for the entire list and visit those sites.
©  story by Cheryl Henry Hodgetts, aka Laurie Foston
COMING SOON... LEON'S CAPTURE
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