Author: Giles Andreae
Illustrator: Guy Parker-Rees
Publisher: Orchard Books
Audience: Ages 4-6
Summary: Gerald the giraffe lives in a jungle where all the animals participate in a special dance. Although he is tall with long legs, Gerald only seems to be good at standing still. When he comes to dance in the show, other animals tease him and Gerald leaves feeling very sad. A cricket plays a song for Gerald and tells him that sometimes those who are different just need a different song to be able to dance. Gerald amazes his friends with his new found ability to dance to the song that the cricket plays.
Literary elements at work in the story: The theme of this story is the most important literary element at work. Each creature that God has created can achieve greatness in some way, shape or form. Often times, children who are categorized as “different” because of physical or mental ability, race, or economic status are teased by and made to feel that they are not “good enough.” It is vitally important that we as Christians join all of our “songs” together in community. We’re not meant to be soloist dancers. This book with its colorful illustrations and animal characters will hold the attention of young children as the words of the author give children a valuable message.
Perspective on gender/race/culture/economic ability: No specific perspective on any of these categories is used in the book.
Scripture: Romans 12:6-7, Psalm 139:14, Isaiah 40:29-31
Theology: We have all been given unique gifts by God. We have all been wonderfully created by God. God gives strength and power to those who may be considered weary and weak by society.
Faith Talk Questions:
- How is Gerald different from the other jungle animals in the beginning of the story?
- Why do you think the illustrator devotes 4 pages of the story to pictures that show different animals dancing in the Jungle Dance?
- How do the other animals make Gerald feel? Why?
- What does the cricket teach Gerald?
- What do you think the author is trying to tell you when Gerald says “We can all dance, when we find the music we love” at the end of the story?
Review prepared by Marcia Rauch, MACE, Entering Cohort Fall 2006
Giraffes Can’t Dance by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.