Young Gisbert the giraffe is content with his life in this German import.
His long neck allows him to do just about anything he wants: peer in a top-story window to watch TV, stretch out to make a bridge for his friends to walk across, and sleep with his head in the leafy tops of trees. When his kindergarten classmates (a diverse group of anthropomorphic animals) start teasing him about the things that make him special—his spots, his height—he’s confused. He feels like he’s shrinking! With plenty of white space around the bright figures, it’s easy to focus on Gisbert’s body language. Gisbert’s sad eyes, turned-in toes, and drooping head articulate his hurt feelings. It’s so bad he climbs under the sofa and stays home from school. His concerned parents hold him, their necks forming a protective heart-shaped arc over him. Luckily, his friends leave him a note saying they miss him, giving Gisbert the courage to tell his parents everything. They offer good counsel that families everywhere can use: “It’s okay to tell [your friends] that their words made you sad.” Confidence regained, Gisbert rejoins his friends and grows taller—bursting through the playhouse roof. This time when his friends laugh, it is with joy and not derision.
There is nothing snarky or subtle here, just straight-up, reassuring advice on how to handle insensitive friends. (Picture book. 3-5)