Giraffe Problems by Jory John
Edward the giraffe can’t understand why his neck is as long and as bendy and as ridiculous as it is. No other animal he knows has a neck this absurd. He’s tried disguising it, dressing it up, strategically hiding it behind bushes... anything he can think of.
But when Edward has exhausted his neck-hiding options, a turtle with a craving ambles in and tries to help the poor giraffe understand his neck has a purpose.
Giraffe Problems is the second collaboration from Jory John and illustrator Lane Smith; the first tackling the problems penguins face.
This second book is a sweet story about the importance of friendship and of self-acceptance. It celebrates diversity, ‘imperfections’ and uniqueness in a simple way that pre-schoolers and primary school aged children will love.
It provides a great jumping off point for adults for having age appropriate discussions about self-acceptance, body confidence, kindness, and being a good friends.
The book design is brilliant as well. Smith’s illustrations are muted, yet complex. His techniques, clearly visible within the pages, would make a great case study for primary schools to allow students to gain a deeper understanding of the book on many levels. There’s a great fold out page to really highlight Edward’s absurd neck, pages that need to be flipped sideways, and pages split into panels to highlight and challenge print conventions.
The text is another well-thought out design element. In the mix are different fonts and colours to represent different characters, italics, all capital letters, and different sizes of text. Cyrus the turtle’s soliloquy is a wonderful page that begs to be read aloud.
With a strong moral, wonderful design elements, and a sweet story, Giraffe Problems is an unexpected delight.
Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser
Walker Books, RRP $27.99