Giraffes Can't Dance (Hardcover)
About the Author
Guy Parker-Rees has illustrated many bestselling Orchard books, including K IS FOR KISSING A COOL KANGAROO and THE CHIMPANZEES OF HAPPYTOWN by Giles Andreae; DOWN BY THE COOL OF THE POOL, DINOSAURUMPUS!, and ALL AFLOAT ON NOAH'S BOAT by Tony Mitton; QUIET! by Paul Bright; and THE HIPPO-NOT-AMUS by Tony and Jan Payne. He lives in Brighton, England.
---Kirkus Reviews, July 1st 2001
All the jungle's got the beat, but Gerald the giraffe has four left feet. Such is the dilemma in this British team's bouncy if didactic picture book about self-esteem. As a multitude of fleet-footed beasts eagerly "skip and prance" at the annual Jungle Dance in Africa, Gerald feels sad "because when it comes to dancing/ he was really very bad." Jeered by waltzing warthogs and cha-cha-ing chimps when he attempts to cut a rug, Gerald hangs his head and leaves the celebration behind. Luckily, a friendly cricket appears in the moonlight, chirping a morale-boosting song of self-confidence that soon sets Gerald in graceful motion. Andreae's rhyming text has a jaunty rhythm that's likely to spark interest in the read-aloud crowd, in spite of a heavy-handed message. Parker-Rees's kicky depictions of slighly anthropomorphic animals boogying on the dance floor are the highlight here. His watercolor and pen-and-ink artwork exudes a fun, party vibe.
--Publishers Weekly, September 10th, 2001
A clumsy giraffe is instantly transformed into an exceptional dancer when he finds music that he loves. Gerald has tall, thin legs, which are good for standing still, but when lie tries to run, his crooked knees buckle. At the annual Jungle Dance, lie is laughed off the floor. A cricket tells him that "...sometimes when you're different you just need a different song." This advice enables the lonely creature to dance, much to the amazement of the other animals. The rhythmic text follows a pattern of four lilies per stanza. Some rhyme and others do not. Some flow smoothly; others are forced. One line states that, "He threw his arms out sideways. - - ." Huh! Giraffes don't have arms. Full-page color illustrations done in pen and ink and watercolor are bold and warm. Characters are whimsical and expressive, but they don't make up for the drastic and unbelievable turnaround that takes place upon hearing the cricket play his violin. For stories about individuality, stick with Helen Lester's Tacky the Penguin (1988) and Three Cheers for Tacky (1994, both Houghton) or Robert Kraus's Leo the Late Bloomer (HarperCollins 1971) and Owliver (Prentice-Hall, 1974; o.p.).
---School Library Journal, October 2001