Giraffes Can’t Dance

Giles Andreae (1999), Orchard Books

Gerald, a giraffe, is the oddball out every year at the annual Jungle Dance held in his home jungle. While he’s very good at other things, the other animals heckle him so much that he believes he simply cannot dance. With some encouragement from his friend the cricket, Gerald learns that being different from the other animals simply means he might need a different song. He takes the stage at the Jungle Dance once he learns to dance to his own tune.

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Talk with a child about this book

Why do you think Gerald focused so much on the one thing he couldn’t do, instead of all the things he could?

Gerald was very different from the other types of animals that came to the Jungle Dance. At the beginning of the story, do you think Gerald thought that was a good thing or a bad thing? What about at the end of the story?

Who helped Gerald find his own song and believe in himself? What did they say to him to help him do that?

In this story, Gerald learned that he was happiest when he stayed true to himself. When was a time that you stayed true to yourself?

If you ever saw someone being picked on or not playing because they’re different than everyone else, what could you say to them?