Category: Special Education
Title: Giraffes Can’t Dance
Author: Giles Andreae
Illustrator: Guy Parker-Rees
Publisher: Cartwheel Books
ISBN Number: 978-0545392556
Number of Pages: 32
Reading Level: Preschool-3
Genre: Children’s picture book
Summary: This is the story of a giraffe who is upset because they are having a jungle party and he is the only one who cannot dance. Then, cricket comes along and tells him that sometimes different people just need a different song for them to be able to dance. They change the song and then giraffe dances in his own way and everyone loves his dance moves.
Main Themes: The theme of the story is acceptance and being different from others. Friendship is portrayed in the story when cricket comes along and teaches giraffe how to dance. All the other animals are then jealous of giraffe’s dance moves and regret ever making fun of him for being unable to dance- which portrays the theme of not judging others by their appearance.
Strengths: The author of the book, Giles Andreae has written a number of children’s books. He himself has four young children so he knows and understands children and what they like to read or see pictures of. The book takes silly animals as a fun way to approach the topic of accepting others. The simplicity of using animals makes it an easy topic to understand. The book is an international number 1 bestseller. It would be great in the classroom because it shows how the giraffe has to do things a little bit differently in order to succeed which would be extremely relatable for children in special education. The illustrations are bright and fun, easily capturing a child’s attention. It also has a rhyming to make the text easier to read.
Weaknesses: The book never discusses how the bullies were wrong for tormenting him when he could not dance. The giraffe learns to dance and is then accepted, but the bullies do not apologize for the way they treated him. This could teach the theme that it is okay to tease others who are not the same as us.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IokV2nE3nB8 : This is a link to a youtube read aloud of the book.
https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/authors/giles-andreae/ : This is a link to Giles Andreae’s
https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plans/teaching-content/giraffes-cant-dance-lesson-plan/ : This is a great lesson plan to use in the classroom.