Fantasy and social responsibility mix uneasily in this optimistic translation from Spain.
Violet is a Kenyan girl who goes to bed hungry because her region doesn’t have “much food.” A winged giraffe suddenly shows up and flies her all over Africa, but at first, it is an Africa without people—just the animals, plains, forests and mountains of most old-fashioned books about the continent. Then the giraffe introduces a new idea. The fantastical animal tells Violet that “the rainbow sometimes loses its colors when it sees that children are no longer smiling.” They should ask people from other countries to help by “collaborating, by working together, sharing their moments of happiness and seeds of love, and by being generous.” At last humans appear in the pictures, and the giraffe unveils her biggest plan: to tickle everyone in Africa! Now Violet’s laughter turns into drops of water that become a rainbow that transforms the continent, and “everything turned green, filled with light, and filled with life.” Great swaths of color fill the double-page spreads, and the giraffe, with its heart-shaped spots, certainly attracts attention. Violet and the other people are realistically, albeit stereotypically, painted. This sugarcoated attempt to imbue young children with a sense of social consciousness is saccharine in the extreme.
High ideals with a mawkish sensibility. (Picture book. 4-7)