Giraffe, bored and looking for a friend, becomes pen pals with Penguin in this illustrated chapter book.
Even though Giraffe has nice weather and plenty to eat in his home in Africa, he is bored because he doesn’t have “an extra special friend.” A notice from an also-bored pelican offering “to deliver anything anywhere” spurs Giraffe to write a letter introducing himself (“I’m famous for my long neck”), and he asks Pelican to deliver it to the first animal he meets on the “other side of the horizon.” After a long flight, Pelican sees Seal. Seal delivers the letter to Penguin, since Penguin is “the only animal…who got letters….Most were from his girlfriend.” This original, playful story unfolds with perfect pacing as Giraffe and Penguin start a pen-pal correspondence. (Penguin, not sure what a neck is, writes back: “I think maybe I don’t have a neck. Or maybe I am all neck?”) Giraffe and Pelican, reading Penguin’s letters describing himself, are just as confused about what Penguin looks like. Hilarious deductive reasoning ensues. Young readers will love the silliness. Older readers (including adults) will relax in this gentle, judgment-free world of curiosity and discovery. Takabatake’s fresh, unaffected line illustrations create a seamless collaboration of art and words.
This is a rare book: joyful, ingenuous, playfully earnest, but without a whiff of studied cuteness. (Fantasy. 7-10)