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DON'T LAUGH AT GIRAFFE by Rebecca Bender


by Rebecca Bender & illustrated by Rebecca Bender

Age Range: 4 - 6

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-986949-56-2
Publisher: Pajama Press

An unlikely duo seems to have little rapport with each other until an inordinate amount of teasing leads to some remorse on the part of one friend, while the other becomes less sensitive.

Shy Giraffe and boisterous Bird have a tenuous relationship made all the more vexing by their continual annoyance with each other. After one such exchange, in which each reacts negatively to the other’s obnoxious behavior, they both become quite thirsty and take a visit to the pond. While Bird drinks and plays in the water hole, he neglects to notice Giraffe’s difficulty in reaching the water without getting his hooves wet. And when the other savanna animals see the gentle, long-necked soul clumsily squat in order to reach the low pond, they howl and make merciless fun of his awkwardness. Upset and embarrassed, Giraffe leaves to quench his thirst in a nearby puddle. Bird’s momentary regret gives him an idea to help Giraffe recover, with some good-natured ribbing of the others as a bonus. In the end everyone, including Giraffe, is laughing together. Large, cartoonish, brightly hued acrylics on texturized board are integral to conveying the fun in the sparsely worded text, which is filled with onomatopoeia. Yet the story’s theme is ambiguous—children may not leave it understanding the difference between good-natured banter and mockery—and Giraffe’s sudden decision that he doesn't mind getting his hooves wet is illogical.

Ultimately unsatisfying. (Picture book. 4-6)