The author/illustrator of Will Ladybug Hug? and Will Bear Share? (both 2018) provides another valuable life lesson in this cleanly illustrated, simple story.
The animal and insect cast of Leung’s earlier works returns with an entertaining reminder not to take oneself too seriously. The story is simple but rich. When Giraffe wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, his friends set out to cheer him up. Can they get a chuckle or a smile out of their stubborn, grumpy friend? In successive double-page spreads, the question is posed again and again: “Will Giraffe laugh with Bear?”; “…with Crocodile?”; “…with Sheep?”; “…with Frog?”; “…with Ladybug?” Juggling, a puppet show, balloon animals, goofy tongue tricks, and flowers all backfire with spectacularly silly results that will have little ones cracking up even as Giraffe gets more and more dour. When Giraffe loses his cool and yells at his friends, though, he realizes he’s gone too far. A desperate gambit to make his friends laugh goes hilariously awry, and a muddier but wiser Giraffe learns the value of laughing at himself. Despite the stylish economy of the artwork, each character is improbably expressive. The book concludes by asking toddlers, “How do you cheer up your friends?”
A lovely reminder that laughter is most valuable when shared. (Board book. 1-4)