ZARAFA

THE GIRAFFE WHO WALKED TO THE KING

Zarafa the giraffe first traveled on camelback, then by a small, creaky boat, then a tall ship and, finally, walked 550 miles on her own four hooves. Why would a giraffe ever do all of that? In 1824, Muhammad Ali, the viceroy of Egypt, decided to present King Charles X with a beautiful, exotic gift—a giraffe (in Arabic, zarafa means “charming” or “lovely one”). But Zarafa had to travel all the way from Egypt to France, with her lanky neck and knobby-kneed legs growing the entire time. In her trademark witty yet informational style, St. George relates this epic journey with a jaunty text and quick, parenthetical quips. Spencer easily captures this essence as his long-lashed giant happily lopes through the pages, much to the delight of adoring crowds. His gentle human caricatures and almost-but-not-quite anthropomorphized animals are playful, expressive and fun (an attendant cow’s seasickness is a particularly amusing detail). Thousands of visitors came to see Zarafa in France—no doubt many more will flock to this book. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-399-25049-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2009

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

DIARY OF A SPIDER

The wriggly narrator of Diary of a Worm (2003) puts in occasional appearances, but it’s his arachnid buddy who takes center stage here, with terse, tongue-in-cheek comments on his likes (his close friend Fly, Charlotte’s Web), his dislikes (vacuums, people with big feet), nervous encounters with a huge Daddy Longlegs, his extended family—which includes a Grandpa more than willing to share hard-won wisdom (The secret to a long, happy life: “Never fall asleep in a shoe.”)—and mishaps both at spider school and on the human playground. Bliss endows his garden-dwellers with faces and the odd hat or other accessory, and creates cozy webs or burrows colorfully decorated with corks, scraps, plastic toys and other human detritus. Spider closes with the notion that we could all get along, “just like me and Fly,” if we but got to know one another. Once again, brilliantly hilarious. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-000153-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE

Like an ocean-going “Lion and the Mouse,” a humpback whale and a snail “with an itchy foot” help each other out in this cheery travelogue. Responding to a plaintive “Ride wanted around the world,” scrawled in slime on a coastal rock, whale picks up snail, then sails off to visit waters tropical and polar, stormy and serene before inadvertently beaching himself. Off hustles the snail, to spur a nearby community to action with another slimy message: “SAVE THE WHALE.” Donaldson’s rhyme, though not cumulative, sounds like “The house that Jack built”—“This is the tide coming into the bay, / And these are the villagers shouting, ‘HOORAY!’ / As the whale and the snail travel safely away. . . .” Looking in turn hopeful, delighted, anxious, awed, and determined, Scheffler’s snail, though tiny next to her gargantuan companion, steals the show in each picturesque seascape—and upon returning home, provides so enticing an account of her adventures that her fellow mollusks all climb on board the whale’s tail for a repeat voyage. Young readers will clamor to ride along. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-8037-2922-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2004

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more