November 14, 2018

Giraffe and Bird Together Again

Written and illustrated by Rebecca Bender
Pajama Press
32 pp.
Ages 4-7
November 2018

Friends don't always see eye to eye, or nose to beak. But, sometimes it's because of these  differences that the friendship is made even more special. Little ones who know Rebecca Bender's other books in this collection, namely Giraffe and Bird (DCB, 2010), Don't Laugh at Giraffe (Pajama Press, 2012) and Giraffe Meets Bird (Pajama Press, 2015), already understand the basis for this extraordinary friendship. And, even with a plot that has Bird missing, you know Rebecca Bender won't disappoint her readers. She helps the two find their way back to each other.

From Giraffe and Bird Together Again by Rebecca Bender
Bird loves adventures, Giraffe does not. But when Bird is absent for awhile, Giraffe begins to worry that something has happened to Bird and decides to follow the feathers. Even when he gets tangled in vines when searching through a dark forest, Giraffe is compelled to go on. Even when Giraffe goes up a craggy mountain upon which he tumbles backwards and needs the help of a couple of mountain goats, he is determined to find his friend. From his high vantage point, Giraffe glimpses a shiny sign and "a small and beaky someone next to it." Finding Bird stunned from a collision with the sign, both are happy to be reunited. Unfortunately, Giraffe fails to notice the quicksand nearby. Now it's Bird turn to help out. By distracting his friend and enlisting the help of others, Giraffe makes it home safely.

Everyone loves Giraffe and Bird. The two animals are so different yet so understanding and accepting of those differences. Giraffe stretches beyond his comfort zone to help his little friend, and Bird recognizes when Giraffe may be in need of help. Even in the end, the two find a compromise to help them continue to be friends and honour those differences. 

Bird will wander a little less...
if Giraffe will explore a little more.
From Giraffe and Bird Together Again by Rebecca Bender
One of the best elements of Giraffe and Bird Together Again is the artwork. Rebecca Bender's use of colour to place the reader in the forest, on the mountain and looking out over the plain is extraordinary. It's warm and rich in tone and evocative of a setting many of us in Canada will never experience. But, of course, it's her characters that draw the reader back every time. Generally using only body language and eyes, Rebecca Bender lets the reader see what Giraffe and Bird are thinking and feeling. Frustration, joy, distress and relief are all there in those few elements. It's impossible not to fall in love with Giraffe and Bird. Moreover with details like Bird hiding under a traditional Canadian work sock or Giraffe in knee pads and helmet or the weird assortment of detritus lodged in the quicksand, kids will seek and find and laugh.
From Giraffe and Bird Together Again by Rebecca Bender
Rebecca Bender's Giraffe and Bird was recently honoured as the selection for the 2018 TD Grade 1 Book Giveaway. That means every child in Grade 1 in Canada should have received their own copy of that special first book (unless their school board sadly opted out of the program). The enduring affection between these two unlikely friends continues to endear them to young children, perhaps seeing something of themselves in Giraffe or Bird. Whether sensitive to teasing, or homebody or adventurer, there is something of everyone in these two characters, and we're so glad that Giraffe and Bird are together again.
From Giraffe and Bird Together Again by Rebecca Bender

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