Giraffes can't dance by Giles Andreae

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Illus. by Guy Parker-Rees. Big book edition. Hachette, 2011. ISBN: 9781846164446.
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Beginning readers will love the reprint of the big book version of this wonderful, timeless story that has been in print for 20 years. The beautiful verse by Andreae will be very appealing read aloud to young children and the rhythm will make it easy to remember the words and read along with the teacher. The fact that many children may have heard it at home, as it is so popular, will add to the appeal and the familiarity will be enjoyed by them. Those new to the story will love it.
The pictures are very appealing, and the humour of the warthogs' waltz, the chimps' cha-cha, and the lions' tango will be enjoyed by all. Of course, the important message about finding your own way of doing things is also an important one.
Gerard the giraffe really wants to dance, but his body with its long neck and skinny legs, makes it hard to find his rhythm and the other jungle animals laugh at his attempts. Despondent, he leaves the gathering but a wise cricket tells him
" . . . sometimes when you're different
You just need a different song."
And when Gerard finds that song he is able to do the most beautiful dance in his own way. Children will love the warthogs' waltz, the chimps' cha-cha, and the lions' tango, but most of all they will love Gerard's dance, and his final words,
"We can all dance, he said,
When we find music that we love."
This is a lovely, feel good book, perfect for beginning readers. Themes: Dancing, Giraffes, Verse story.
Pat Pledger