I made a random decision to buy Giraffes Can’t Dance for my daughter. It has been, literally, one of the best additions to her library. Giles Andrea rhythmically tells a story of a giraffe who felt like he didn’t belong because, of course, he couldn’t dance. He then comes across an unassuming cricket who provides him with a solution – maybe you can dance, if you find the music you love.
My brief review perhaps simplifies the depth and the beauty of this story line. There is a melodic pattern to the images and the choice of words. There is a gradual emotional swing from sadness and pity to joy and victory at the end. It’s not a classic, Disney happy ending. It’s realistic.
For the youngest of minds, this book could simply be a beautiful story about animals in the jungle. For more mature readers, Giraffes Can’t Dance gives a practical solution to daily problems they may face such as peer pressure, social exclusion, racism, low confidence and self esteem… The list is endless.
Literacy Boost Tip #2 – Before reading a new book, look at the cover and ask your child what she thinks the story will be about. What gives her that idea? Ask the question at various points during the story. This is great practice for storytelling skills and independent thinking.