Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Giraffe's Incredible Journey

On this date, June 30, 1827, a giraffe - the gift from the Viceroy of Egypt to the King of France and the first giraffe ever in France - arrived in Paris after a two-year, four-thousand-mile trip. The giraffe sailed across the Mediterranean Sea to Marseilles in the hold of a boat with her head peaking out from below deck in the hold. From Marseilles she walked 550 miles to Paris. All the while she was accompanied by faithful keepers who climbed a ladder every night to comb her head (she was more than 12 feet tall). The beloved giraffe - who influenced French fashion and culture died on January 12, 1845, at Paris.
-The Teacher's Calendar, 2008-2009

Faulkner, Keith.
The Giraffe Who Cock-a-Doodle-Doo'd.
Dial Books for Young Readers.

Something strange has taken place in the jungle! When the jungle rooster awoke to greet the new day,
he fluffed up his feathers and opened his beak to cock-a-doodle-doo, out came an earth-shattering...
The lion, hearing the roar, decided to scare away the new lion in the jungle.
He opened his enormous jaws, but all that came out was a tiny little...
The elephant laughed at the lions voice, but his was no better!
He stretched his trunk to trumpet, out came a HISS instead!Snake gets upset, discovering the Elephant's hiss."Listen." But out of his mouth came a very loud SQUAWK!
The parrot, recognizing that the snake had his squawk, suddenly wondered what he had.
Parrot took a deep breath, opened his beak, and out came a ground-shaking TRUMPET!
All of the animals become upset - upset and confused. Giraffe, normally with no voice, waits quietly until prompted by the other animals to try out his voice.
So Giraffe stretched out his long neck, opened his mouth, took a big breath, and...coCk-a-doodle-dooooo!
The magic only lasts for one day, though. By the next morning, the jungle rooster is back at his job, greeting a new day!

This is an awesome book and is sure to get children laughing! The part that makes it even better are the pop-up illustrations that show the animals in action! Definitely worth sharing!

Andreae, Giles.
Giraffes Can't Dance.
Orchard Books.

Every year, the jungle dance in Africa has Gerald the Giraffe in a panic.
And this year when the day arrive
Poor Gerald felt so sad,
Because when it came to dancing
He was really very bad.
The animals all step up for their chance on the dance floor...
The watrhogs started waltzing
And the rhinos rock 'n' rolled
The lions danced a tango
Which was elegant and bold.

The chimps all did a cha-cha
With a very latin feel,
And eight baboons then teamed up
For a splendid Scottish reel.
When it's Gerald's turn and he gets chuckled at, rather than letting it bog him down, it makes him more determined to be successful at his dance. Suffice it to say, with a little assistance from some other jungle creatures, Gerald is very successful and has a very powerful message for readers.
Then he raised his head and looked up
At the moon and stars above.
"We all can dance," he said,
"When we find music that we love."
I love this book, but even more than the book, I love the message that Gerald passed on to readers. Books with a strong message are one of the reasons that I love reading so much! I think the message is quite clear and children will understand it. However, it might take a discussion to ensure that they're really "getting" the message!

Giraffes Can't Dance Lesson Plan

If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to Amazon.com.