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Giraffes Can't Dance Hardcover – September 1, 2001

4.8 out of 5 stars 2,123 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Gerald the giraffe doesn't really have delusions of grandeur. He just wants to dance. But his knees are crooked and his legs are thin, and all the other animals mock him when he approaches the dance floor at the annual Jungle Dance. "Hey, look at clumsy Gerald," they sneer. "Oh, Gerald, you're so weird." Poor Gerald slinks away as the chimps cha-cha, rhinos rock 'n' roll, and warthogs waltz. But an encouraging word from an unlikely source shows this glum giraffe that those who are different "just need a different song," and soon he is prancing and sashaying and boogying to moon music (with a cricket accompanist). In the vein of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Gerald's fickle "friends" quickly decide he's worthy of their attention again.

With this rhyming, poignant (in a cartoonish way) tale, Giles Andreae, author of Rumble in the Jungle, and numerous other picture books, shows insecure young readers that everyone can be wonderful, even those that march to the beat of a different cricket. The rhymes are somewhat awkward, but the bold, bright watercolors by Guy Parker-Rees will invite readers to kick up their heels and find their own internal harmony. (Ages 3 to 6) --Emilie Coulter

From Publishers Weekly

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 slightly anthropomorphic animals boogying on the dance floor are the highlight here. His watercolor and pen-and-ink artwork exudes a fun, party vibe. Ages 3-6.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 450L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Orchard Books; 1st American edition (September 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439287197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439287197
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 9.8 x 12.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Gerald the Giraffe is one clumsy animal. He's good at standing still and munching shoots off trees but when he wants to join the other animals at the Jungle Dance, they only laugh at him. Not for long, though. His friend the cricket knows how to play the music that inspires Gerald to dance like John Travolta in his best days. Gerald is transformed because "we all can dance ... when we find music that we love."
"Giraffes Can't Dance" is my personal favorite among Max's books. The story is familiar to many kids who go to kindergarten and learn that their peers can be picky about who belongs to the pack and who does not. In the book, the exuberant illustrations of Guy Parker-Rees take the sting out of Gerald's initial rejection by the other animals. Watching the Rhinos rock'n'roll and the lions "dance a tango that was elegant and bold," balances Gerald's sadness. The emphasis of the story is on Gerald's joyful transformation, anyway. Just read Gerald's jubilant "I am dancing! Yes, I'm dancing! I AM DANCING!" with enough liveliness and watch the kids identify with a flying giraffe. After all, the lesson is that you can excel and enjoy who you are even if, at first, the world does not play your tune. With a little help from his friends, Gerald finds out that "sometimes when you're different you just need a different song."
Let me add one short paragraph on Gerald's helpful friends, the cricket and the three small bugs that are hiding on every page. These four little fellows are an ingenious device to soften the impact of the emotional story. Kids are in love with details; once they know what to look for, they will tirelessly search for the bugs and the cricket, and point them out to you. Hint: play dumb and they will have a party.
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By A Customer on February 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is the most precious story about how being different is okay and how you can still be good at something even though you have to go about it a little "differently." I bought this for my 4 yr old son with cerebral palsy who can't walk and he absolutely adores it! "We can all dance if we find the right music." Gerald, who initially was ridiculed by the other animals for being a terrible dancer, gets a little help from a friend in finding the "right music." His dancing is admired by the other animals in the end. My husband demonstrates the different dances with my son as he reads the book to him which my son thoroughly enjoys! We have a very extensive book collection for my son, but this would have to be one of his (and my) all-time favorites. I have also bought several copies of this book for my son's school. The illustrations are the best that I've ever seen in a children's book. Can't recommend this highly enough!
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Format: Board book Verified Purchase
There's a reason this book is a top seller, it's adorable! I first read this book in a toddler book club when I was a nanny, I now read this book to my own children. I have read this book probably a hundred + times (not an exaggeration) and I still love it. I haven't found a child who didn't like this book, it's so cute. Great story, nice colorful illustrations. I highly recommend this book!
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for my 2 yr old and he loved the story from the beginning. After the first read we realized that the cricket was on every page of the book. Boy did we have fun looking for it on the second time around. After ten different readings we finally found all the crickets. the story is a good one when you watch your toddler show empathy for Gerald. I highly recommend this book!!
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Format: Hardcover
Although written for children ages 3 to 6, as a middle school librarian, I know my students can also identify with Gerald the Giraffe's insecurities. They know too well how fickle their "friends" can be if they fail to fit in. Learning that everyone can dance when they find the music they love is a lesson that they will revisit many times during their lives...but probably never so simply or beautifully as with Gerald the Giraffe.
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Format: Hardcover
I quite liked this book, my children LOVE it. The illustrations are amazing, they are nicely drawn, and the colour! It is extraodinarily rich and vibrant. I don't know if it simply that it suits the setting of this book which is Africa or if this is usual for this illustrator. Whatever the reason I will definitley be finding more of these books for my kids. My two girls spend ages looking at the pictures picking out the small details.

The story is nice. It is about Gerald the Giraffe who attends the annual dance but it laughed at by the other animals for being so clumsy. Gerald goes away humiliated, but he meets a cricket who teaches him to listen for his own special music, and that is the music he should dance to. Gerald listens and hears it, and then he starts to dance himself and it is wonderful, all the other animls come to watch and applaud.

So it has a nice positive message at the end of it too.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Cute book about dancing - not an easy topic to find for toddlers who love dancing. Good read-aloud level for 2 year old, nice pictures, easy to follow story and a great John Travolta/Saturday Night Fever pose by Gerald at the end. Includes peer group of animals who laugh at the giraffe for not being able to dance, which is a social concept that I had reservations about exposing to our 2 year old but may be okay for an older preschooler. So, I read it with reservations at first, but it seems to be okay for him. However, he's not enjoying the book as much as I am and hasn't been interested in hearing it much beyond the first couple of times.
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