CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 39 . . . . June 8, 2012
Youngsters who first met this delightful animal odd couple in Giraffe and Bird (Vol. XVII, No. 5,.October 1, 2010) will be pleased that the sometimes squabbling duo are back again in another story about friendship. As author/illustrator Bender demonstrated in Giraffe and Bird, she knows when a picture, rather than words, should carry the story. For instance, in the excerpt above from Don’t Laugh at Giraffe, the words simply tell what is happening early one morning, but Bender’s bold acrylic (on textured illustration board) cartoon-like illustrations clearly reveal how giraffe and bird respond to the other’s noise-making. The look on Giraffe’s face definitely shows that he is annoyed at being awakened so early in the morning while Bird, wing feathers firmly stuffed in his ears, tries to block out Giraffe’s disgusting throat clearing sounds.Their mutual annoyance is quickly forgotten when Bird tickles Giraffe’s sensitive neck, an action that causes Giraffe to break into a trot to escape fluttering Bird. The extended run/flight leads to their both becoming thirsty, but the pond’s water level has dropped significantly, leaving the water well below the bank. While Bird jumps right into the water, Giraffe doesn’t want to get his hooves wet, and so initially he reaches down and sticks out his tongue as far as he can, but to no avail. Neither Giraffe’s squatting or his doing the splits yields a drink of water, but his awkward actions do elicit laughter in the form of cheeps from Bird, a cackle from a flamingo, a howl from hippo and a guffaw from a zebra. When all of the laughter causes Giraffe to become nervous, he accidentally falls into the pond, a happening which causes the laughter from the four watchers to intensify. An embarrassed but still thirsty Giraffe leaves the pond and seeks to slake his thirst in a muddy puddle. Bird, recognizing that Giraffe is unhappy because of being laughed at, devises a plan, one which makes him, not Giraffe, the target of the other animals’ laughter.
Dave Jenkinson, CM's editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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