________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 6. . . .October 9, 2015


Giraffe Meets Bird.

Rebecca Bender.
Toronto, ON: Pajama Press, 2015.
32 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
ISBN 978-1-927485-35-4.

Subject Headings:
Giraffe-Juvenile literature.
Birds-Juvenile literature.
Friendship-Juvenile literature.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

***1/2 /4



The first time Giraffe meets Bird,
he’s surprised.

The moment Bird sees Giraffe,
he’s amazed.


Though Giraffe Meets Bird is author/illustrator Rebecca Bender’s third book about the pair of sometimes fractious friends, in terms of time sequence, it precedes both Giraffe and Bird and Don’t Laugh at Giraffe as its contents deal with the pair’s first encounter and the roots of their occasionally rocky friendship.

internal art     The pair first meet each other at Giraffe’s “tree”, the one on which the quadruped youngster feeds and the same one on whose branches can be found the nest in which Bird is hatching out of his blue egg. Initially, Giraffe is amused by watching Bird discard the pieces of his shell, but Bird quickly makes Giraffe cross by flipping those same pieces on Giraffe’s head. Retaliating, Giraffe snorts at Bird, which is presumably an unpleasant event for Bird as two dead flying insects are seen falling from the snorted breath enveloping Bird. And so begins the pair’s tit-for-tat behaviour which, however, is not always negative. On the positive side, for instance, Giraffe discovers that offering Bird a branch with a delicious “worm” on it may result in Bird’s reciprocating by giving Giraffe’s long neck a good scratch with his claws.

      On a hot dry afternoon, Giraffe uses his tree as a scratching post in an attempt to rid himself of an itch, a vigorous action that causes Bird, who does not yet know how to fly, to flutter to the ground. Though “Bird is thrilled to have an adventure”, he does wonder how he will be able to get back into the tree. At the same time, a now itch-free Giraffe is curious as to why the usually irksome bird is being so quiet. With his height advantage, Giraffe spots Bird on the ground, but very close to a lion that appears to be creeping through the noisy tall dry grass. Instinctively recognizing the cat as a predator, Giraffe scoops up Bird and jumps into the tree where the pair spend the night harmoniously sharing a branch, but morning becomes decision time for the duo.

Bird knows that this tree is no place
for young giraffes.

But giraffe is surethat this tree is no place
forbaby birds.

     With a lion in the vicinity, Giraffe and Bird know that they must leave.

Giraffe is weepy to bid

Bird is teary to say
But they do.

     Bender uses superb misdirection in this penultimate double-page spread as both text and illustration suggest that the pair are about to go their separate ways. The closing spread, however, finds Giraffe and Bird mounted on the back of an elephant family as “together they set off to find a new home to share.”

      Lest potential purchasers of Giraffe Meets Bird be concerned that the lion-in-the-grass page might be scary for young children, the lion Bender has illustrated is a cub, not an adult lion, and the expression on its face is only one of cub-like curiosity.

      As in Bender’s earlier books about this twosome, Bender’s bold acrylic illustrations will sometimes amusingly tell a story that differs from what the text reports. For example, when the text reads, “Giraffe enjoys the peace and quiet of a nap”, it would be logical to conclude that it is Giraffe who is having the nap. However, on the page facing this text, Bird is shown joyously hopping from branch to branch in the tree, with one of the “branches” being Giraffe’s head. The illustration accompanying the nap text reveals an annoyed Giraffe peering into a nest in which Bird has settled down for his nap.

      An excellent addition to the “Giraffe and Bird” series.

Highly Recommended.

Dave Jenkinson, CM's editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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