Book review – Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae



Giraffes Can’t Dance is one of those little gems of a story. I bought it on a whim (really just dislike leaving a bookshop empty-handed) and didn’t know anything about it. When I read it to my kids that night, I was thrilled that I had made the purchase!


Gerald the giraffe is good at lots of things, but not at dancing and each year at The Jungle Dance, he is a bit of a laughing stock. Embarrassed and hurt, Gerald leaves the dance, but finds someone who may just be able to help.

Why I love it:

Teaching your children to accept themselves and others is one of the most important jobs us parents have and can be one of the hardest. Giraffes Can’t Dance is a beautiful lesson in acceptance and the prose style of text is also extremely appealing. This is one to read, reread and discuss many times over.

Themes to discuss with your child:

Giraffes Can’t Dance raises a number of themes you can discuss with your child.

Among them are:

  • Acceptance (of self and others)
  • Bullying
  • Loneliness
  • Resilience
  • Kindness and compassion
  • Helping others
  • Self-reflection

Questions to ask your child:

Before reading:
  • What do you think this book might be about?
  • Do you think this is a fiction book (a story) or a non-fiction book (facts)?
  • How many animals can you see on the front cover?
  • On the front cover, look at the giraffe’s face; what do you think he is feeling?
  • Do you think it’s true that giraffes can’t dance?
After reading:
  • How do you think Gerald felt before the dance and then during the dance?
  • If you had been one of the other animals at The Jungle Dance, what would you have said to Gerald?
  • Have you ever felt there’s something you can’t do? Tell me about it.
  • Do you have somebody in your life who cares about you and helps you the way the cricket helped Gerald? Tell me about them.
  • What do you think is the main message of this book?
  • How do you think Gerald will feel before next year’s Jungle Dance?

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