Giraffes Can't Dance handprint giraffe

well, actually, giraffes can dance!

It seems like a really long time ago (it's been a l-o-n-g week here), but Anti-bullying Day was only last week.

We made an awesome video.  I am so proud of my kidlets; we are learning that kindness is contagious.  Check it out here.

We all wore pink shirts that said respect the right to be different.

My very favouritest book (yup, I hang out with 5 year olds) about respecting differences is Giraffes Can't Dance.  A very favouritest book qualifies to be a perfect picture book.

author   - Giles Andreae
illustrator   - Guy Parker-Rees
published by Orchard, 2001
 juvenile fiction
themes   - self acceptance, resecting differences
great for ages 4 - 7

opening lines

Gerald was a tall giraffe
whose neck was long and slim.
But his knees were awfully crocked
and his legs were rather thin.


Gerald the giraffe longs to dance, but his legs are too skinny and his neck is too long. At the Jungle Dance, the warthogs waltz, the chimps cha-cha, and the lions tango. "Giraffes can't dance," they all jeer when it's Gerald's turn to prance. But with some sound advice from a wise cricket, Gerald starts swaying to his own sweet tune.  (goodreads)

why I love this book

The book first had me hooked at the cover.  Bright, cheerful, engaging and promising to be a lot of fun. But, one is not supposed to judge a book by its cover....  The rhyming text has good rhythm and is perfect for a read aloud.   Gerald is an endearing fellow, and I think that all readers and listeners can connect with his feeling of being all knees, feet and the object of everyone's mocking.  My students were definitely empathizing with Gerald, and there were several "that's not caring" comments about the jungle animals' response to Gerald's dancing during the story.  The pen and ink, and watercolour illustrations are warm and fun; Publishers Weekly wrote that they  "exude a fun, party vibe".

Some reviews stated that the message was overly didactic and there are much better books available about individuality.  I can't stand "preachy" books and I love Giraffes Can't Dance.  My kindergarten kidlets enjoy it and choose to reread it.  They "get" that Gerald is different from the other animals, and that we all need to "respect the right to be different".  Wouldn't it be boring if were were all the same?


Last year when we read this book, we indulged in a biggish art project.  You can read all about it here.  The end results were fabulous and had Gerald personality in spades.

This year our art time frame was a bit smaller.  

But I still really really wanted to create a Gerald with the kidlets to carry on our conversation about listening to your heart, being true to yourself, and respecting other's rights to be different.

Instead of using 12x18" paper, we used letter size, 8 1/2x 11" paper.  We painted the grass and the sky the same, but glued on a white paper moon and made glitter glue stars.  This time we used handprints for the giraffe's body and legs.  The don't have the dance moves that last year's giraffes had, but they still rank pretty high on the cute/fun scale.

The rhyming text, perfectly lends itself to song.  My kidlets love this; check it out.  


find the music of your heart, and dance like no one is watching


  1. This looks like something I'd really like. I especially like the 'cloud treatment' in this year's bottom left hand print - kid's art is so cool!

  2. Sandi,
    Thanks for linking up with the Blog by Province Blog Hop. I hope you consider adding the your province's blog button to your sidebar and linking back to the blog hop..the more followers we get the better:) Have a great weekend...I love the layout of your blog, it's really visually engaging:)

  3. The book and the video are adorable. Going to need to get myself a copy! I love the art activity also. Thanks for sharing.


    Granny Goes to School

  4. This looks like a really cute book. Giraffes are especially popular around here so I'll have to check this one out! I really like your kids' art! They are very talented!

  5. You know, I think I actually have this book. It looks SO familiar. I love the video! Thanks, Sandi.
    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  6. There is so much to love in this review. Thanks. Great activities. Thank-you for introducing me to this illustrator. I hope our library has this title.

  7. What a fun activity! Thank you for sharing--it makes me want to do the entire thing with my crew!

  8. This is such a great book and I love the handprint craft!! Such a great idea! Thank you for sharing at the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop! You were featured as one of my favorites this week!

  9. thanks for the blog post about kindness. We have been working on kindness and these are all wonderful lessons. Thanks so much :)

  10. One of my all time favorite books! I have read this book to my daughter since she was 1!! I too think it does a wonderful job of showing individuality should be respected! Not to mention the fun tone and cool illustrations throughout the book!! Being “normal” is so overrated!! Lol. We are who we are and we are all different; and that’s ok!! Love your website and cool ideas!


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