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 can’t help it.”
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.”
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.
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.