Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae

To sum things up before we even get started: Safari animals dancing through the night and inspiring self-confidence; vibrant colors and detailed illustrations that play beautifully with light and shadow; all delivered in a sturdy little board book with a perfectly crafted rhyme scheme. A giraffe named Gerald finds his groove, and it’s probably pretty clear at this point how our reviews are going to go.

I can’t wait to read this book to Kiddo as she grows. The message is so perfect: “We all can dance,” he said, “When we find music that we love.” Isn’t it the goal of every parent to teach their children just that? Life lessons that I can start instilling at age one? Yes, please.

The story is also well written, and has a consistent rhyme scheme and beat to carry the reader along. There is one spot where the rhyme throws me off (rhyming ‘violin’ with ‘thing’ is a bit too slanted for my taste) but the rest is so artfully done that I can forgive it.

I tend not to like illustrations that are very busy, especially right now while Kiddo is so young, but I do love looking at the pictures in this book. The artist (Guy Parker-Rees) has such a way of playing with light, it’s difficult not to appreciate it. You really do feel like the animals are dancing around a giant bonfire, and Gerald truly is admiring the moonlight. Part of me wishes they were simpler, but part of me dares not wish away such lovely art.

The pictures are very busy, so I just kind of point all over the page while Mom reads. The upbeat pace does hold my attention though, so I know I’ll have fun growing into this book. And since yellow is my favorite color to identify, I do appreciate all of the opportunities to interrupt Mom to point out the yellow giraffe. LELLOW! It’s also nice that my mom always feels the need to hug me after she finishes this story. Such a weirdo, that Mom.


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