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STAY CLOSE TO MAMA by Toni Buzzeo

STAY CLOSE TO MAMA

By Toni Buzzeo (Author) , Mike Wohnoutka (Illustrator)

Age Range: 3 - 5

Pub Date: March 13th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-4231-3482-4
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

A young giraffe repeatedly lands in dangerous situations when his curiosity gets the best of him.

Concerned mama giraffe knows many threats exist on the African savanna, but her little Twiga ("giraffe" in Swahili) “is so curious.” The “tall, tall mama…leans close and whispers a warning, / No, little Twiga. Stay close, stay safe.” Twiga’s keen senses prove irresistible. He hears music in a thorny tree, sees sparkly water and smells the delicious fruit of the sausage tree. Each time he approaches the attractive object, a predator or serious discomfort—hyena, stinging ants, crocodile, cheetah—looms near. The clueless Twiga always manages to move onto the next pursuit just in time. Mama giraffe is often shown in the background looking worried. But Twiga, other than in the moment the ants crawl onto his nose, never learns the important lesson that being careful will surely save his life. Somehow all is forgiven after Twiga grabs the sweet fruit and returns to his mama…at least until the next time. Overall there are many elements that seem off: the contradictory message, the sometimes-precious tone of the text and the disconnect between the textual description of the setting and what is shown in Wohnoutka’s illustrations. The text describes “tall brown grass” and a “dusty plain,” but the full-bleed spreads show mostly lush green landscapes dotted with flowers.

Pass on this muddled effort. (author’s note) (Picture book. 3-5)