Yours Sincerely, Giraffe is a brilliantly crafted short chapter book for young readers by Japanese author Megumi Iwasa. Her clear text combined with Jun Takabatake’s line drawings are reminiscent of Shel Silverstein’s work in books like Lafcadio, the Lion Who Shot Back and A Giraffe and a Half.
Giraffe lives on the African savanna. He is alone and he is bored. He begins to wonder what could be beyond the horizon he can see. When he sees a sign posted on a tree by a bored Pelican who is starting a mail service, Giraffe gets the idea to write a letter. He does so and gives the letter to Pelican with instructions to give it to the first animal he meets on the other side of the horizon.
The first animal Pelican meets is Seal–coincidentally the animal on the other side of the horizon who is charged with delivering the mail. Seal delivers Giraffe’s letter to Penguin. Penguin is a student; he loves learning.
Giraffe’s first letter reads:
Dear You, Whoever You Are, Who Lives on the Other Side of the Horizon,
I am Giraffe. I live in Africa. I’m famous for my long neck. Please tell me all about yourself.
Penguin doesn’t know what a “neck” OR a “giraffe” is. But he is curious and excited to learn about them! With Pelican’s help Giraffe and Penguin become pen pals. Eventually they meet in a hilarious and heartwarming way.
Although the text is simple and easily accessible to young readers as both a read-aloud for very young children through 2nd grade as well as an independent read for those ages 4-8 who are reading on their own, the storyline is layered in such a way as to provide multiple springboards into other topics. This book could easily be used to teach letter-writing, to create a pen pal project for 1st and 2nd graders, or to discuss the joyful way all the animals are excited to learn about and embrace things about each other that are completely foreign to their own experiences.
Yours Sincerely, Giraffe is a book I will be adding to my personal library and has gone to the top of my Favorites AND my Recommendations lists!