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Friday, August 7, 2015

Giraffe Meets Bird, written and illustrated by Rebecca Bender. Pajama Press, 2015. $18.95 ages 4 and up

"If Bird wants Giraffe
to help,
he has to be pleasant.

If Giraffe wants Bird
to give him a scratch,
he has to be polite.

In this prequel to her earlier story Giraffe and Bird (Dancing Cat Books, 2010), we learn how the two friends meet. It is quite a surprise to both. They are fascinated with each other, and often exasperated as well.

"Bird learns that it's easy to make Giraffe cross.
Giraffe discovers that it's a cinch to make Bird angry."

They spend their days learning to be friends, accepting one another despite their differences. Each finds it difficult to be in the same space without altercations.

Then, one day, when Giraffe is scratching an itch on their tree, Bird is ousted from her nest. Luckily, danger is averted when Giraffe manages to snatch his friend from certain death. Later in the day, they manage to share the tree without a fuss. Now aware of that danger is ever-present, they think perhaps the tree is not their best shelter. Cautiously, they check for the lion when they awaken.

Sensing no danger, they say goodbye to their old leafy abode. With help from a family of elephants, they set off to find a home they might happily share.

As she did in that first book, Rebecca Bender gives us memorable and lovable characters. Her double page spreads provide a close-up look at the developing relationship. Her expressive characters are quite the pair. As you can see from the shared quotes, she uses words that are synonymous to describe their relationship. It allows her young readers to build vocabulary without really knowing that it is happening.

If you haven't met Giraffe and Bird, you are in for a treat. Your little ones are sure to thank you for introducing them to this charming pair. 

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