Giraffe Problems – Perfect Picture Book Friday

No pressure. Nothing like being  ★ An Amazon Most Anticipated Children’s Book of Fall 2018  or ★ A Publisher’s Weekly Most Anticipated Children’s Book of 2018.

Yes, Jory John is a picture book rock star, but the pressure is real at the top. And I don’t envy his having to pull a rabbit out of the hat every time he publishes a book.

But yes, he did it. He pulled the rabbit out of the hat once again. I’d love to be a fly on the wall of his mind. Seriously.

I snickered. I giggled. I guffawed. Starting at the first page:

“I feel bad about my neck.

I do.

I can’t help it.”

Poor giraffe.

Yes, his neck is too….necky.

Giraffe thinks everyone is staring at it. He tries dressing it up with all sorts of ties and scarves.

He tries hiding it.

He compares his neck to other animals.  And still….he thinks everyone is staring at him.

His mom, being a mom, of course, tells him:

“Other animals would love to have a neck like this.”

His response:

“Yeah, right. 

No offense, Mom.

But nobody wants this neck. 

It’s a neck only a mother could love.”

Enter a neckless turtle, Cyrus. A verbose critter with a problem. And only Edward, the giraffe, can solve it.

I felt Cyrus’s desperation and cheered when Edward, the hero with the lonnnnnnng neck reaches the scrumptious banana that’s been teasing Cyrus for so so long.

And the ending? Well, Edward and Cyrus “tie” one on together.

Lane Smith’s sepia-toned illustrations give the book an old-fashioned feel, which fits the diction of the conversation between Cyrus and Edward to a “T.” And the trim size is perfect for a TALL character, with one page that’s also a fold-out in the vertical direction.

Resource Links:

This book provides a perfect opportunity to talk with kids about the things they like or don’t like about themselves, and discuss how what they see as weakness can possibly be seen as a strength. It’s also a great springboard to talk about how our differences make us interesting.

Pair with Scholastic’s activity for grades 3-5: The Best Part of Me: Positive Self-Image Poetry

Get the conversation about body image and self-confidence started by pairing this book with I LIKE MYSELF by Karen Beaumont 

Title: Giraffe Problems

Author: Jory John

Illustrator: Lane Smith

Publisher: Random House, 2018

Themes: Body image, self-confidence, silliness 

Ages: preschool through middle grade

You can find more perfect picture book recommendations at Susanna Hill’s blog.

12 thoughts on “Giraffe Problems – Perfect Picture Book Friday

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Yes! Thank you for reminding me. There’s a tiny line on the copyright page that reads: “A tip of the hat to Nora Ephron.” Perfect. Just perfect. And thank you for also reminding me that I wanted to add a few words about Smith’s illustrations. The expressions on the animals’ faces are spot on, adding so much to the characterization of Edward and Cyrus and the often deadpan delivery.

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