I’ve never met a Gecko Press book I didn’t like. Yours Sincerely, Giraffe is no exception.
The premise is deceptively simple. Giraffe is bored, and seizes an opportunity to write a letter to someone over the horizon. The recipient writes back. Each letter writer wonders about the other. Eventually they meet.
The story is so much richer than my plot synopsis indicates. What are letters (a valid question, in this day and age) and why would you bother? What do you do when you’re bored? How can you describe yourself to someone who can’t see you, or a photo or picture of you? How do you find out what something means when you’ve never heard of it before? How do you react when something doesn’t turn out quite right? Why is the ocean blue? Where does the horizon stop?
This is the sort of book that parents could read to their children and have a lovely time together; but a confident reader of 6-8 could easily read it by themselves. The opportunities for conversation are huge – and as a teacher, this makes me really excited. I can imagine using this book in lots of different ways in the classroom – letter writing, character descriptions, art, science, drama, dance … it really lends itself to lots of great ideas.
Translated to English from the original Japanese, Yours Sincerely, Giraffe is what teachers and librarians describe as “early chapter books” – rich with gorgeous illustrations in this case, and with not too much text on the page. One of my favourite 8-year-olds, Rosa, enjoyed this book as much as I did, and devoured it in one sitting. When I asked her who should read it, she said, “if someone doesn’t have a sense of humour, they definitely shouldn’t read it.” I agree – and I’d add this is the perfect book for curious readers and creative teachers, as well. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Rachel Moore
Yours Sincerely, Giraffe
by Megumi Iwasa, illustrations by Jun Takabatake
Published by Gecko Press