Gary Giraffe learns to ask for help even when he feels the task is something he should be able to do alone.
Gary has finally attained the milestone of his 6th birthday. Now he’s old enough to eat the best acacia leaves up high—but his excitement is tempered by his repeated failures to reach them. Each try finds him falling over. Tye Tickbird, Gary’s best friend, finally flies down and reminds him, “When you can’t do something all by yourself, you ask a friend or family member to help.” Gary’s friends (a cheetah, an elephant, a lion, and Tye) tell him that no matter their age, everyone needs help with something, and there’s nothing wrong in asking for it. Their solution—one weighting down a branch, two others anchoring Gary’s legs—works, and Gary gets a bite of leaves. Gary’s expression often seems static, and while McDonnell’s cartoon illustrations reflect the tale, they don’t add much beyond it aside from a cringe-inducing image of two lionesses fawning on the lion. Chikowore’s tale is both pedantic and contrived; why would giraffes (even anthropomorphized ones) base their ability to eat high leaves on age rather than height? But nonetheless, the author’s lengthy backmatter note explains how important it is that children acquire the skill of asking for help and how parents can help accomplish this.
May teach kids that it’s OK to ask for help, but it’s unlikely to be a repeat read. (Picture book. 4-8)