Age group: 4-7
The amusing duo that tickled funny bones and captured hearts in Rebecca Bender’s 2010 picture book debut, Giraffe and Bird, return in Don’t Laugh at Giraffe.
The book opens with a fun montage of all the ways Giraffe and Bird irritate each other. Giraffe barely tolerates Bird’s chirpy morning song. Likewise, Bird plugs his ears when Giraffe clears his extra-long throat. Nonetheless, they are friends, which makes Bird’s part in embarrassing Giraffe at the watering hole that much harder to bear. Afterward, Bird feels horrible, so he comes up with a clever way to win back his friend and show the power of a well-placed joke.
As with her first book, Bender excels at bringing to life the precious, amusing intricacies of friendships (particularly young friendships) in a captivating, likeable story. The annoyances the two pals visit upon each other are instantly relatable, and readers of all ages will recognize bits of themselves in stately Giraffe and silly Bird.
Bender’s visuals are equally charismatic. Rich, lush colours provide backdrops for wonderful close-ups of the characters’ faces as they express a range of emotions. The look on Bird’s face when he sees Giraffe sipping water from a mud puddle will melt the coldest of hearts. A stunning two-page spread of Giraffe’s head, with tiny Bird atop his nose, is especially impressive.
Don’t Laugh at Giraffe is a warm, gentle tale with a good message and plenty of funny moments, making it a great choice for sharing. After all, the story reminds us, it’s always better to laugh with a friend than at one.