|Long tall journey|
Author: Wahl, Jan
In this tale inspired by true events, a giraffe journeys from its home in Africa to a 19th century menagerie in France, encountering curiosities and establishing a new purpose in life.
Kirkus Reviews (08/15/15)
School Library Journal (09/01/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 09/01/2015 Gr 2–4—Based on actual events, this stunning picture book follows the story of a giraffe that in 1825 was given by Muhammad Ali, the Ottoman viceroy of Egypt, to King Charles X of France. This heavily fictionalized tale is narrated by the giraffe, who describes how she is unexpectedly carried away from her home and bundled onto a boat for a ride down the "wide, blue river." She details how two small boys come aboard to care for her and how she endures a voyage across the endless ocean and comes to "a city with fountains and sweet grass." The giraffe finds this new place strange and uncomfortable and misses home. Slowly, the party traverses the countryside, passing through fields of sunflowers and tunnels of trees. At last they enter "the grandest city in the world," where the giraffe creates a sensation. Having reached her final destination, the giraffe lives in a glass conservatory in the king's park until her own palace is constructed. Although she still longs for Africa, the giraffe becomes content in her new home. The digitally created paintings add depth and emotion to the simple narrative. The sweeping spreads capture the settings: the African landscape, the port of Marseille, the French countryside, and the city of Paris. In one lovely illustration, the travelers parade through a sun-dappled forest, following a winding path and crossing a bubbling stream via a rustic stone bridge. Together, the text and pictures tell a panoramic story. VERDICT With its unusual point of view, this title will mainly appeal to animal lovers. Readers looking for a historical account of the events may prefer Judith St. George's Zarafa: The Giraffe Who Walked to the King (Philomel, 2009). —Linda L. Walkins, Saint Joseph Preparatory High School, Boston, MA - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.