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Giraffe problems
2018
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A follow-up to Penguin Problems finds an embarrassed giraffe trying to cover up the long neck he thinks is absurdly different from those of other animals before a turtle in a bow tie helps him realize how purposeful, and stylish, his long neck can be. - (Baker & Taylor)

When Cyrus the giraffe feels self-conscious about his neck, a turtle helps him understand its purpose. - (Baker & Taylor)

"A giraffe struggles to feel comfortable with his neck"-- - (Baker & Taylor)

Penguins aren't the only animals with problems. . . . A second hilarious collaboration from picture-book superstars Lane Smith and Jory John!

Can you guess what's making this giraffe self-conscious? Could it be . . . HIS ENORMOUS NECK?? Yes, it's exactly that--how on earth did you figure it out?

Edward the giraffe can't understand why his neck is as long and bendy and, well, ridiculous as it is. No other animal has a neck this absurd. He's tried disguising it, dressing it up, strategically hiding it behind bushes--honestly, anything you can think of, he's tried. Just when Edward has exhausted his neck-hiding options and is about to throw in the towel, a turtle swoops in (well, ambles in, very slowly) and helps him understand that his neck has a purpose, and looks excellent in a bow tie. - (Random House, Inc.)

Author Biography

JORY JOHN is a New York Times bestselling author and two-time E.B. White Read-Aloud Honor recipient. Jory's previous collaboration with Lane Smith was the national bestselling picture book, Penguin Problems, an Amazon Best Children's Book of the Year selection. Jory's work also includes the award-winning Goodnight Already! series, the bestselling Terrible Two series, the national bestseller All my friends are dead, and the recent picture books I Will Chomp You!, Quit Calling Me a Monster! and The Bad Seed, among many other books for both children and adults. He lives and works in Oregon. Find out more at joryjohn.com.

LANE SMITH (also the illustrator of Penguin Problems) has written and illustrated a bunch of stuff, including Grandpa Green, which was a 2012 Caldecott Honor Book; It's a Book, which has been translated into over twenty-five languages; and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs! Four of his books have been New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books of the Year. In 2012 the Eric Carle Museum named him an Honor Artist for "lifelong innovation in the field of children's books." In 2014 he received the Society of Illustrators Lifetime Achievement Award. Lane and book designer Molly Leach live in rural Connecticut. Visit him on the Web at lanesmithbooks.com. - (Random House, Inc.)

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Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Less acerbic but no less engaging than the avian whiner in Penguin Problems (2016), Edward the giraffe frets about his prominent neck—"It's too long. / Too bendy. / Too narrow. / Too dopey"—and despite his mother's assertion that it's something to be proud of ("Yeah, right,"), he feels like all the other animals have cooler ones. Until, that is, he meets Cyril, a tortoise with the opposite issue ("Pathetic, right? I'm basically neckless"), and does him a solid by plucking down a long-coveted banana. "You made it look so easy!" marvels Cyril. "Edward, face it—your neck is impressive." Edward, abashed, compliments Cyril's own "elegant and dignified" neck, and off go the two new friends to explore the world from each other's radically different perspective. Never one to let an opportunity for caricature go to waste, Smith stretches Edward's neck to comical length in the brushy illustrations, decks it with neckties and shrubbery, and then after sending it sinuously spiraling and flopping through various scenes, shows on a climactic foldout that it's the perfect length to reach a bunch of bananas on a tall tree. That it's just right for a giraffe is a notion that Edward, not to mention young readers with self-consciousness issues of their own, will have no trouble swallowing. Grades 1-3. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

This companion to Penguin Problems stars Edward the Giraffe, who, as revealed in fidgety, conversational first-person text, is self-conscious about his too-long neck. Then downhearted Edward meets lonely turtle Cyrus; retrieving a banana from a tree for Cyrus changes Edward's perspective about his neck. Panels divide images during moments of conversation and contemplation, allowing characters' emotions and reactions to take center stage in the textured, muted illustrations. Copyright 2018 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews

This companion to Penguin Problems (rev. 9/16) stars Edward the Giraffe, who is self-conscious about his neck: "It's too long. Too bendy. Too narrow. Too dopey. Too patterned. Too stretchy. Too high. Too lofty. Too…necky." In a fidgety, conversational first-person text, Edward shares his strategies for masking his neck using neckties, shrubs, trees, ditches, and water. He twists and stretches his neck awkwardly up, down, and across page-turns, with humorous results. When attempts to communicate his jealousy of others' physical characteristics (a zebra, lion, and elephant) result in their annoyance, Edward slumps over a rock…which is actually a turtle named Cyrus. The two start chatting, and an opportunity to see the benefits of his neck (a gatefold lifts up as Edward is shown stretching to retrieve a banana for Cyrus from a tall tree) changes Edward's perspective, as well as both creatures' feelings of isolation. The use of panels (and implied panels) divides images during moments of conversation and contemplation, allowing characters' emotions and reactions to take center stage in the textured illustrations with muted hues. A variety of typefaces and font colors makes sound effects and dialogue clear. As Edward moves from self-doubt to growing confidence with help from patient, supportive Cyrus, readers are afforded caring models for self-acceptance and unconditional friendship. elisa gall Copyright 2018 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews

Necks come in many sizes, and sometimes those sizes seem inconvenient. Edward the giraffe is unhappy about his neck. It's so…"necky." Despite fancy adornments and multiple attempts to hide, Edward is unable to accept his longest-lasting problem—his neck. That is, until he meets his complete opposite: a turtle named Cyrus whose problem is also his neck. It's too short. He desperately wants a banana but can't reach it. Together they solve each other's problems and delight in each other's strengths, thereby also learning to accept themselves as just right. Smith's artwork is eye-catching and expressive, with a retro feel, using earth tones and geometric shapes to evoke texture and dimension. The story, though lively, does not soar as high as Edward's neck, remaining earthbound due to well-worn tropes and a too-tidy ending. Additionally, the author has missed out on a STEM opportunity by failing to introduce animal nomenclature, simply labeling the animals Edward beli eves are staring at him (a warthog, a crocodile, and other animals) as simply "This guy," "That guy," and so forth. A clever bit of paper engineering does enable readers to take part in the story for a brief moment. Learning to appreciate one's body in all its complicated and even ungainly forms is a laudable moral—one that should hide itself behind a more original story. Skip this stretch of a story and seek out stronger friendship titles instead. (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Nora Ephron felt bad about her neck, and Cyrus the giraffe feels bad about his, too. "Yes, my neck is too necky. Everybody stares at it," he sighs. He confesses to embarrassment ("I've tried hiding it away") and compares his neck to others' ("Take a gander at this zebra's neck. Stripes always look good"). Edward, a turtle, has almost no neck at all, but he also feels bad: "I've felt like such a fool as I stretched my neck toward those greedy branches, only to be limited by my own physical shortcomings." It's easy for Cyrus to retrieve the banana Edward's been eyeing for days, a moment that warrants a vertical gatefold, and being able to help Edward gives Cyrus more satisfaction than all the empty reassurance he's been offered. In this follow up to Penguin Problems, Smith (Grandpa Green) uses earth-toned greens, golds, and browns to create all kinds of brushy, stroked, veined, and lined textures, and his characters' black eyes convey a wealth of emotions. Lighthearted palaver by John (The Bad Seed) flows effortlessly, and the pair's courtly manners ("That means a great deal to me, Edward") are sure to garner laughs as their shared dismay rings true. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

School Library Journal Reviews

PreS-Gr 2—In a follow-up to Penguin Problems, John and Smith team up again and bring their zany brand of comedy. Edward the giraffe has a problem with his neck—it's just too necky. Who wants such a long neck? "Everybody stares at it. This guy. That guy. Him. Her. Them. Whatever that is. Her again." Edward envies his fellow African animals, who generally respond unfavorably. When Edward admires the zebra's classic stripes, the zebra snaps, "Quit staring at me," but it takes a self-effacing turtle named Cyrus to convince him that his neck is just perfect. A foldout page reveals Edward using his neck for its intended purpose. In a beautiful introduction to the uniqueness of a giraffe's spots, Smith has created large, block-printed spots in natural colors to adorn the end pages. The textured print continues throughout, visible in the hides of animals, the bark of trees, and the textured ground of the African plain. Of course, there is the theme of self-acceptance and a bit of sublime silliness as well, especially in Edwards's fruitless attempts at camouflage and in the expressively simple eyes of Cyrus the turtle. VERDICT This book will appeal to older preschoolers as well as elementary school kids, and would lend itself perfectly to dramatic interpretation or an art lesson in sponge or block printing.—Lisa Taylor, Florida State College, Jacksonville

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.

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