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Summary: A young giraffe loved his life on the savanna, but it was a dangerous place. Because he was afraid to lift his head above his shoulders, he couldn't see lions racing at him. On his way to the village doctor, the giraffe met a monkey who was afraid to climb trees and a hippo afraid of the water. All of them were going to the doctor, so they decided to travel together. When a crocodile confronted the trio, they knew they were in big trouble. Would they survive and make it to the doctor's office? This picture book combines non-fiction data about animals with a story about overcoming fear.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 8 to 10
Interest Level: 4 to 8
Reading Level: 3.7
Age of Child: Read with a kindergarten class.
Young Reader Reaction: The kids liked how the animals worked together. One student wished it was "more exciting." While the class liked the story, the message that you need to believe in yourself may have been too subtle for this particular group.
Adult Reader Reaction: This story will remind you of Aesop's fables: great stories with a moral at the end. The illustrations are great and the information and activities at the back add to the fun.
Pros: This picture book uses a classic story-telling style to introduce factual information about animals in Africa.
Cons: None, really.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a story that could grow with a young child, first with the story, then with the factual data. The combination of built-in activities AND a story make it perfect for entertaining kids on different levels.
Educational Themes: Although there is factual information about giraffes, Velvet Monkeys, Common Hippos and the Nile Crocodile, most kids will focus on the story itself. This is a nice book for a one-on-one discussion about fear, both recognizing and overcoming your own, as well as respecting the fears that others may have (i.e., don't judge). It also offers some opportunity to talk about teamwork, friendship, and making safe choices.