By Awnali Mills
Giraffe is bored. Really bored. So is Pelican. Since Pelican has come up with a mail delivery service in order to relieve his boredom, Giraffe decides to write a letter. He has no one to send it to, so he asks Pelican to deliver it to the first person he sees over the horizon and wait for a response. Thus begins a lovely pen-friendship with Penguin.
I had a few pen pals when I was a kid, and recently reconnected on Facebook with a pen pal from childhood. That connection tempted me to pick up this book. Yours Sincerely, Giraffe is a very simple book, but it has some stunningly insightful lines. My favorite begins, “You asked what I look like, but looking is a very odd thing.”
It isn’t often that I run across a book that I think is just screaming for use in a classroom, but this is one. I think it would be fantastic in an elementary classroom for introducing the idea of pen pals, or for using to demonstrate the importance of description. Giraffe and Penguin are trying to figure out what each of them looks like, and have no basis for understanding the other’s description. I can easily see a lesson where students write a descriptions of unusual animals (or plants, or what have you) and then switch descriptions to have other students try to draw from the description. Perfect for demonstrating the power of well-crafted descriptions.
Or, the book could be used in an art class, as a teacher describes an object and the class attempts to draw it.
Or a discussion about what a horizon is, and how you cannot go over a horizon.
Or…well…you get the picture.
This is also a gentle read that would be easy enough for first or second graders.