Lesser the crowd always the better! Today for our reading session there were only five kids and oh what fun we had. Most of them who were there today were of Aarav’s age and they were just going to start school in few days. With school would come bullying and teasing etc.
This brilliant book ‘Giraffes Can’t Dance’ by Giles Andrae was something which kids could immediately connect to.
The illustrations and rhymes in the book are outstanding. The theme of, be yourself and listen to your own inner music is just fabulous and connects immediately to a child who is above 3 years.
We began the session with first talking about how Giraffes’ have long neck! What are some of the advantages with that long neck?
The story line was quite simple. Gerald the Giraffe was very good at ‘standing still and munching shoots off trees’. However, what Gerald wanted to be good at, but was most definitely not, was dancing. At the annual Jungle Dance the warthogs did the waltz, the rhino’s did the rock and roll and the chimps did the cha cha cha. But Gerald simply froze on the dance floor, to the amusement of his friends that were shouting ‘Giraffe’s can’t dance!’.
A somewhat sad and lonely Gerald found himself gazing up at the bright
shining moon, listening to a wise and friendly cricket. The cricket says that dancing is all about the music and that maybe Gerald hadn’t found the right song yet…. The night evolves into a triumphant encore performance by Gerald, shocking his jungle friends with his new found dance vocabulary.
The bright and colourful, fun book didn’t take time to engage the reading room kids. The youngest being Avyukt , three year old could immediately connect to not only the theme but also enjoyed the eloquent rhyming text that rolls off the tongue.
The beautiful illustrations in the book helped to carry the story when reading it aloud to kids in chooku booku. The book which opened beautifully explaining about Gerald caught every child’s attention effortlessly.
When I read: “Gerald was a tall giraffe
whose neck was long and slim.
But his knees were awfully crooked
and his legs were rather thin.”
All of them burst into laughter just like the jungle animals. But as the story progressed I could see that tension and sadness in the eyes of three year old Avyukt, five year old Aarav and even 12 year old Darshan. When animals booed the Giraffe they wanted to immediately know what Gerald did. And finally when we read about the helpful cricket and how the Giraffe started dancing and all animals were awestruck there was a sense of relief in Parinita’s eyes. Aaarav laughed to glory and they all agreed that the book had such a positive message and how its ok to be different.
The story promotes exploration into self-confidence, self-esteem and individuality. I explained Darshan and Aarav later about how the book talks about different dance styles; the waltz, the Scottish reel and the tango. It was soon the time to have some art fun! We made our own giraffes on a canvas paper and they all had so much fun doing it.
Check out the pics here: