“Giraffes Can’t Dance“ is a brilliant children’s book written by Giles Andreae and illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees. The vivid illustrations, eloquent rhymes, and a beautiful message at the end make it a perfect book for young readers. It’s recommended for the kid’s age group 2 and up.
Summary of “Giraffes Can’t Dance”
Gerald was a clumsy giraffe with thin legs and his knees awfully crooked. He was good at many things like standing still and munching shoots off trees. But, when it comes to running around and dancing, Gerald buckled at the knees. When he decided to be brave and perform for the jungle dance event, all the animals sneered and teased him – “Giraffes can’t dance, you silly fool!”. Gerald felt so sad and alone hearing this.
While walking back home, sad Gerald met a wise cricket who taught him a powerful message and introduced him to a piece of different music. All of a sudden, Gerald was dancing, and all the animals were amazed to see how beautifully he could dance.
The message Gerald shares at the end of the book was very simple but very powerful at the same time. We think every child should learn from it. It can help immensely to boost a child’s confidence and self-esteem.
The book emphasizes the following:
- It’s OK to be different, and you don’t have to try to fit in anywhere, to impress others.
- It doesn’t make you any weak if you are not good at something. Everyone has different talents, and you will shine when you get the right platform.
- Everybody is different, and we should not judge and make fun of anyone for their differences.
‘Giraffes can’t dance’ would make a great book to prepare children when they start school. They will learn to treat all their mates equally and also to deal with a situation where they feel left out.
Also, The illustrations using watercolor, pen, and ink, are so colorful and beautiful that effortlessly grab the attention of younger kids too. Our son, almost two now, doesn’t understand the message it conveys. But, this is one of his favorite books right now because of the pictures of various wild animals, funny animal dance moves, and the beautiful moon.
About the quality of the book, we have bought the board book version and we are very much impressed with how sturdy the pages are. We read it almost every day and it’s keeping up pretty well.
Frankly, we couldn’t find any fault with this book, no matter how hard we tried.
Activities For The Book – “Giraffes Can’t Dance”
Bookish plays are the best way to keep kids interested in the book and make the reading more enjoyable and fun. Here are some fun activities based on this book that you can do with your little one.
Name the animals
For younger kids, the favorite aspect of the book is definitely the fun illustrations of various wild animals. You can use the book to teach the name of those animals. Later, once they are familiar with it, you can ask them to point to the animal’s picture when you name them.
Pretend-play Using Animal Figurines
We have a small collection of safari animals which we use while reading books. Although there are other animals in the collection, we always find our son reaching for the giraffe and the elephant. We believe he chooses them as they both appear in his favorite books, “Giraffes Can’t Dance” and “If Animals Kissed Goodnight“. Pretend-play is also a great way to get kids familiar with the animals and their habitat.
We made a simple puppet giraffe, out of cardboard, strings, and a stick. Our son looks at it in awe when he sees the puppet dancing. We don’t have step-by-step photos to make it. But it’s pretty simple.
- Cut the shape of the giraffe’s body and legs separately from a cardboard sheet.
- Punch holes on one end of the legs and where you need to attach them to the body.
- Carefully connect the legs to the body using a thread or yarn(make a knot and pass through the holes). It should be loose enough to perform the movements. (Refer to the first picture)
- Again, punch holes on the top of the giraffe’s head and the other ends of the top two legs.
- Now make a knot at one end of the thread and pass through those holes. And tie the other end of the yarn onto a stick or a rod.
The instructions can be a bit confusing when you read them. But trust us, it’s no rocket science, and we are sure you can figure it out in the process of making the puppet.
Paper roll giraffe
Another simple craft activity is to make a tissue paper roll giraffe. Here are the steps to make it.
- Draw the face of the giraffe on cardstock(or any thick) paper.
- Color it and then carefully cut it out.
- Paint a tissue paper roll in yellow and draw the brown patches like the ones on a giraffe. Alternatively, you can roll and stick a sheet of yellow paper and paint the design.
- Now, glue the giraffe’s head onto the paper roll.
Tada! Your easy-peasy, paper roll Gerald giraffe is ready!
Ask kids about their favorite songs or rhymes, and arrange a small dance party with that songs. It’s a fun way to include active exercise into their routine. This is also a great activity to burn off their energy without bringing the house down, which also means better sleep at the end of the day. It’s a win-win!
Spot the bugs
The cricket marks his entry only in the mid of the story. But if you look carefully, you can see him appearing on every page, from the first. Three small bugs (yellow, red, and blue) also appear on all the pages. They are so tiny, and it’s so much fun to scan through the illustrations to find them on every single page. Our son is too young to play this game. But, we enjoyed this one. It can be slightly tricky to spot them on certain pages. But, look harder, and the happiness after finding them every time is totally worth the effort. It’s a fun activity.
I think it’s a fun book for children, and the message it provides is deep and something I wish my younger self had known. Qualities like confidence, self-esteem, and kindness are not something that can be learned in a flash. Start them young and it will stay for a lifetime. And, books are definitely a great start to teach that.