Blue and Bertie by Kristyna Litten

cover image

Scholastic Australia, 2016. ISBN 9781742761800
(Ages: 3-7) Recommended. Differences and similarities, belonging, trying new things. Colour is used to tell the story of these two giraffes who are both similar and different. It is also a main illustrative feature. Bertie is an average looking yellow giraffe. Blue is a blue giraffe. Bertie's life with the other giraffes is monotonous: they nibble leaves, they drink water and they snooze. That is the way they like it. The colour palette showing Bertie and the herd is grey and yellow. When Bertie oversleeps and wakes up all alone he doesn't know what to do or where to go. He has never had to think for himself before! When he meets Blue, the world comes alive with colourful creatures and flowers that Bertie has never noticed before - he's been too busy doing the same old thing every day. In the end, Bertie convinces Blue that he belongs with the herd even though he is blue, and with Blue's new perspective the herd start doing things a little differently each day.
This is a simple, heart-warming story about stopping to smell the roses and finding a place to belong. It emphasises that being different is not so bad and that different perspectives can even make the world a more interesting place. Told primarily through the dialogue of the two giraffes (along with beginning and end narration), the text is concise, simple and undetailed. Bold and enlarged text tells the reader when to add emphasis and there are many sounds for young children to join in with ('crunchity-crunch, sip, slurp, snore, snore, snore'). The illustrations are delightful, managing to capture the emotions of the giraffes in the movement and shape of their long bodies as well as in their facial expressions.
Nicole Smith-Forrest