The Short Giraffe by Neil Flory and Mark Cleary

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The Short Giraffe by Neil Flory and Mark Cleary

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: Gather round everyone and say cheese. Where is Geri? It turns out that Geri is too small to appear in the same photograph with all the other giraffes so he must come up with a plan to make himself taller. 'The Short Giraffe' by Neil Flory is a fun book to share that will teach problem-solving and friendship.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 24 Date: May 2014
Publisher: Allen & Unwin Children's Books
ISBN: 9781743361566

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Anyone who has ever been to a Wedding and saw the photographer trying to wrangle the bride and groom’s families together for a group shot will know all about the perils of mass photography. Neil Flory’s new children’s book, ‘The Short Giraffe’ suggests that the issue is not only human based, but also happens in the animal kingdom.

When trying to take a photo of a group of giraffes, things are made more complicated because Geri is so much shorter than his pals. How will they get Geri into frame? Balancing him on a pile of tortoises is too unstable and he will just float off when attached to a helium filled balloon. Join Geri and pals as they try out a series of daft ideas to try and discover a solution that will actually work.

‘The Short Giraffe’ is a lovely and colourful children’s story that will appeal to any child who is a little smaller that their friends. The secret to the book is that all the characters are very well intentioned. At no point is Geri mocked for his small stature, it is merely seen as a minor issue that needs to be overcome. All the taller giraffes really want Geri in the photo with them so will do whatever is necessary for this to happen.

All the daft ideas that the animals come up to make Geri taller are great fun and even surreal at times. I will never know how a bunch of giraffes in the desert came across a set of stilts, never mind a helium balloon. However, these out of context solutions to a tricky problem are what makes the book so much fun. Children will love laughing at the daft antics on the page. Even in storybooks as simple as this, I do like a narrative and Flory provides this. The surprise end to the book is that the giraffes find a solution that works and suits them all. The book will encourage children to problem solve and take a different take if their initial efforts are not working. It is also a very sweet ending that promotes friendship and perseverance.

It is the illustrations that are the weakest element of ‘The Short Giraffe’. It appears to have been designed on a computer, or at the very least with templates, as all the giraffes have the same basic model with some added clothing or colouring to differentiate them. Not of this ephemera really distracts from the fact that all the giraffes basically look the same; even Geri is a clone, just shorter. A more hand-drawn style would have been in keeping with the kooky story, instead, the clean illustrations are slightly too clinical and distract ever so slightly from the story. However, despite issues with the imagery this story is strong enough with a good message to make this an excellent book to share with a toddler.

The perfect companion to this book is Think Outside the Box by Justine Avery and Liuba Syrotiuk. For more about giraffes try Giraffe's Big Night by Carrie Grant and David Grant and Giraffes Can't Dance Magnet Book by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees

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Buy The Short Giraffe by Neil Flory and Mark Cleary at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Short Giraffe by Neil Flory and Mark Cleary at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy The Short Giraffe by Neil Flory and Mark Cleary at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Short Giraffe by Neil Flory and Mark Cleary at


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