The unlikeliest of friendships grows, baby step by baby step.
As Bird emerges from his shell, Giraffe's head looms nearby. Giraffe is “surprised,” and Bird is “amazed.” Each double-page spread of Bender's story focuses on a small development in the duo's relationship, using crunchy vocabulary in large, emphatic type to explain it. Giraffe is “fascinated” by Bird's growth. It’s not all smooth sailing. If Giraffe wants Bird to give him a scratch, he has to be “polite.” Bird wants to be alone in his tree, but Giraffe was there first: “sharing is hard” and “tough.” The standoff reaches a kind of solution when Bird falls into the tall grass. Giraffe scoops him up just as a young lion seems ready to pounce, jumping so high that he lands in the tree, the safety of which Bird and Giraffe don't mind sharing this night. Next morning, there's no sign of the lion, and they know that it's time to leave. But who should stay at the tree and who should go? The final double-page spread depicts a line of three walking elephants (baby elephant in the middle), with Giraffe sitting on the back of the lead elephant and Bird perched in his small nest on top of Giraffe's head. Attractive, bright acrylics give Bender's animal characters personality, especially fuzzy, cantankerous Bird, and her friendship story is nicely modulated, with vocabulary lessons neatly tucked in.
Sincerely sweet. (Picture book. 3-5)