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Giraffe and Bird

by Rebecca Bender

Giraffe and bird are curmudgeonly enemies who spend their days irritating one another in every possible way. Bird makes funny faces at giraffe, and giraffe sticks out his tongue at bird. Bird prunes his feathers, and giraffe lets out a wet, powerful sneeze. Through all these shenanigans, they steal sly looks at each other to see if their actions are provoking the desired responses.

When the feud reaches its climax, bird and giraffe angrily go their separate ways, only to find themselves scared and alone in the middle of a storm. Suddenly, there are no feathers to shield against the sight of lightning and no big ears to drown out the sound of thunder. Later, they realize there’s also no one to annoy, and that’s no fun at all. So it isn’t long before the two make their way back to one another. Of course, they don’t get along any better – at least on the surface – but they accept that they need each other after all.

Toronto author-illustrator Rebecca Bender has created a confident, colourful, and very funny picture book. The punchy text tells a simple story about getting along, with lots of words enlarged for emphasis to make reading aloud more dramatic. Sounding out the animal noises – “hhhhwaa” as giraffe breathes on bird, or “slllrrp” as bird eats his worm – is also part of the fun, and Bender includes these in large, coloured text. A delightful debut.