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Giraffes Can't Dance

Last updated Thursday, February 21, 2008

Author: Giles Andreae
Illustrator: Guy Parker-Rees
Date of Publication: 2001
ISBN: 0439287197
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Mar. 2008

Synopsis: From Amazon.com: 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.

Note to readers:
•  Here are some vocabularly words you may want to explain: slim, crooked, buckled, warthog, munching, waltzing, elegant, bold, splendid, sneered, slot, swaying, shuffling, hooves, boogied, entranced

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you been to the zoo?
•  What animals do you see n the cover? Have you seen these in real life?
•  Can animals dance? Can giraffes jump in the air and twirl?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Have you ever seen a giraffe run around or fall down?
•  Do you like to dance? Do you go to dances?
•  Have you ever seen these animals at a zoo or in your backyard? Would these animals be friends with each other?
•  Do warthogs know how to waltz? Do lions or rhinos stand on two legs or four?
•  Were the aniamls being nice when they laughed at Gerald?
•  How would you feel if you were Gerald?
•  Have you seen the moon at night?
•  Can crickets talk or play the violin?
•  Is this story real or make believe?
•  How does Gerald feel at the end of the story compared to in the middle when the animals were laughing at him?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a picture of the jungle where all the animals are dancing
•  Make a giraffe mobile: draw and cut out a giraffe. Attach string to the top of the giraffe so the giraffe can dangle and dance.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!