From South Africa comes the story of a cantankerous giraffe and the budding artist who created him.
A brown-skinned child, with sizable brown afro puffs and a penchant for yellow, applies yellow and orange chalk to a paved road to draw a giraffe that comes alive. Immediately, the giraffe complains that he’s alone and bored with the gray that makes up his created world. In response, the precocious young artist draws him an acacia tree, then bright green lush grass, then stars and a sun. The giraffe volubly finds each improvement wanting, so eventually the exhausted protagonist rubs him, the tree, the stars, and the sun out with a foot—and then regrets the action. Re-creating the giraffe, the artist is surprised when the giraffe grabs the chalk and draws the child into the picture, which allows the child to see that the giraffe is lonely. Together they draw the giraffe numerous animal friends and congratulate themselves on making “great art,” underscoring the value of editing, revision, and precision to the artistic process. For most of the book, black backgrounds highlight the chalky, textured look of the protagonist’s artwork, each page warm with citrusy colors and grounded with earthy greens that add exceptional brightness. The striking art helps to compensate for the pedestrian, singsong-y rhyming verse and the tedium inherent in documenting the iterative process of revision.
Makes the burdensome process of reworking art surprisingly engaging. (Picture book. 4-8)