The race to the beach! by Anna Shuttlewood<br>
The Five Mile Press, 2015.
(Ages: 3-7) The watercolour illustrations of this book are stunning and the accompanying story of the zoo animals and their day at the beach is great fun! Although they find lots to do (munching on watermelon, building sandcastles, dozing in the summer sun) it isn't long before long the animals are getting a tad bored of the beach. Seal's idea, a swimming race, is met with great enthusiasm. Except for Giraffe that is . . . he didn't seem that interested in the sea at all. But when Crocodile, who is leading the race, needs help, it is Giraffe and his long legs to the rescue. The zoo animals still aren't sure whether giraffes can swim, but he is declared the winner of the race anyway.
This is a good story to kick start a discussion about what qualities really are important. Is it more important to be the best at something or to be a great friend? Giraffe is a bit of a quiet achiever, who doesn't brag about his abilities, but when there is a friend in need, he shows great bravery.