Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘giraffe’

Pajama Press Congratulates Three of our Authors at the Festival of Trees

Posted on May 16th, 2013 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is pleased to announce that all three of our titles nominated for this year’s Ontario Library Association Forest of Reading® awards have been recognized as winners or honour books in their categories.

No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs by Rob Laidlaw received The Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award™ in today’s ceremony at the Toronto Festival of Trees. Yesterday at The Red Maple Non-Fiction Award™ ceremony Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch’s Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War was announced as an honour book. Don’t Laugh at Giraffe by Rebecca Bender is also an honour book for the Blue Spruce Award™. In 2012 Rebecca’s first picture book, Giraffe and Bird, was the winner of The Blue Spruce Award™.

The Forest of Reading® is a reading program run by the Ontario Library Association. Each year, over 250,000 participants read a shortlist of books in their age category and vote for their favourites.

Pajama Press extends our most sincere congratulations to Rob Laidlaw, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch and Rebecca Bender. We are thrilled to be a part of this exciting program.


Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers reviews Don’t Laugh at Giraffe

Posted on February 28th, 2013 by pajamapress

“Giraffe and Bird run with the same crowd, but a friendship it is not, or at least not quite yet and certainly not in the traditional sense of the word. One way or another they manage to compete against each other for the title of most obnoxious throughout the course of any given day bit just because they don’t shared each others clothes and gossip all doesn’t mean that they don’t have mutual respect for one another. The truth of this matter is exposed when one average day at the watering hole turns into a moment of embarrassment that sends one slightly awkward friend away with his head hung low. What created this sad turn of events? The thoughtless words or rather giggles and guffaws of another… good thing he has a friend willing to show his true colors in order to set them straight.”

Click here to read the full review.

Plan a Giraffe and Bird Party: Bird’s Best Cupcakes

Posted on November 23rd, 2012 by pajamapress



What would a Don’t Laugh at Giraffe party be without some colourful cupcakes? We’ve got the perfect tutorial for kid-tested, bird-approved cupcake fun.

You will need:

A batch of your favourite cupcakes

2 C icing sugar

1 Tbs margarine or softened butter

A small amount of milk

Food colouring to make yellow, blue, green, and orange

Chocolate chips

A mixing bowl

Four small containers

Five spoons

Two piping bags

(Alternate: use plastic bags with the corners cut off to pipe icing)

To make the icing:

  1. Mix the margarine or butter with 1.5 C of the icing sugar.
  2. Gradually add very small amounts of milk until the icing is smooth and spreadable.
  3. If the icing becomes too runny, add more icing sugar.
  4. Separate the icing into the four small containers, leaving a little behind in the bowl. Note that you will need more in the yellow and green bowls and less in the orange and blue bowls.
  5. Stir food colouring into each container one drop at a time until the icing reaches the desired vibrancy.
  6. You may choose to make the blue and white icing slightly runnier than the other colours, since it will be piped rather than spread.
  7. Spoon the white and blue icing into piping bags.

To decorate the cupcakes:


Don’t Laugh at Giraffe teaches empathy without preaching—Resource Links

Posted on November 8th, 2012 by pajamapress

This colourful picture book lives its message: one of the best antidotes for sadness is laughter. The illustrations by author/illustrator Rebecca Bender delight the reader even before the humorous and effective twist at the end of the story. A successful element in the interaction of text and image is that Bender bolds the important words—mainly the verbs—on each page. So with the bold verbs creating motion, and the energetic pictures showing action and emotion, what Bender has created is a very lively picture book for young readers, who will be able to pick out the bolded words and match them to the action in the pictures.

In the scorching heat of the African sun, Giraffe and Bird—best friends but always bugging each other—have a tussle and are hot and thirsty. Already, many young readers will identify with two friends who are so dissimilar but yet “you rarely see them apart.” When Giraffe has trouble bending all the way down to the water, and ultimately falls in, all of the animals—including Bird—laugh at him. True to the age of the readership, this hurts Giraffe’s feelings, and he goes away, sad and humiliated. Bird, an insightful little chap for all his flighty ways—soon figures out that there is something he can do to help his friend. No moralizing here, just a little bird thinking about how his friend obviously feels. Young readers will be able to internalize the lesson of empathy well, as it is so subtle; Bender does not preach at all, but merely shows her readers—largely with her beautiful illustrations—one option in this social situation. The answer Bird comes up with is to make a laughing stock of himself: he sings, he dances, he teases the other animals, he makes a complete fool of himself, laughing all the time with the animals he is teasing—even Giraffe. “Anyone can see that the bird loves the attention…and the giraffe finally has a drinkand the reader feels happy and giggly watching Bird floating on his back, spitting water up into the air.

Rating: E – Excellent, enduring, everyone should see it!

—Karen Huenemann

Plan a Giraffe and Bird Party Part 5: Giraffe Snacks

Posted on September 7th, 2012 by pajamapress

What would a party be without snacks? We’ve already shared our recipe for Muddy Puddle Slushies; now it’s time to make something fun and healthy that kids can really chew on.

Giraffe Snacks


One carrot per three giraffe snacks

One carrot per three giraffe snacks

One plum tomato per Giraffe Snack

One plum tomato per Giraffe Snack

Two dried rosemary leaves per Giraffe Snack

Two dried rosemary leaves per Giraffe Snack

Five toothpicks per Giraffe Snack

Five toothpicks per Giraffe Snack


1. Peel your carrot and slice it in two-inch segments

1. Peel your carrot and slice it in two-inch segments

2. Press toothpicks into segment for legs

2. Press toothpicks into segment for legs

3. Gently press another toothpick into the top of the body and the bottom of the head

3. Gently press another toothpick into the top of the body and the bottom of the head

4. Press two rosemary leaves very carefully into the top of the head for horns

4. Press two rosemary leaves very carefully into the top of the head for horns

5. Play with your food!

5. Play with your food!


Plan a Giraffe and Bird Party Part 4: Puppets

Posted on August 24th, 2012 by pajamapress

All summer we’ve been sharing ideas for a Don’t Laugh at Giraffe-themed party. We’ve talked about games, kid-made loot bags, and the oh-so-popular Muddy Puddle Slushie drink. Today we have instructions for a great kid-friendly craft that will inspire hours of fun long after the party is over:


Giraffe Puppet


One white sock

One red felt tongue

Two tan felt horns

Two tan felt ears

Brown tempera paint

A paint brush

Tacky craft glue

A picture of a giraffe or an example for kids to follow

A black fabric marker


To make this more of an independent activity at the party (freeing you up to light candles, clean up messes, or deal with crises), cut out the tongue, ears, and horns ahead of time. You will need a long, snaking red tongue, two small tan rectangles for horns, and two small, tan leaf shapes for ears.

Giraffe Puppet


1. Using the black fabric marker, draw eyes and nostrils on the foot of the sock.

2. Using the brown tempera, paint large spots on the neck of the giraffe and small spots on its face.

3. Glue down 1.5 cm (0.5 in) of the tongue just below the seam at the toe of the sock.

4. With the sock flat on the table, glue one horn so that it sticks straight up from the crest of the heel. Flip the sock over and do the same on the other side.

5. Glue each ear right over the base of a horn. Make sure the tips of the ears point backward.

Bird Puppet


One 2″ Styrofoam ball

One paperclip, cut in half with wire cutters

Three feathers

A black permanent marker

Tempera paint

A paint brush

Tacky craft glue

An arm’s length of yarn

Bird Puppet


1. Poke the half paperclip halfway into the Styrofoam ball so that it makes two holes. Remove it, dip it in glue, and replace it in the same holes. This will form a loop from which your bird will hang.

2. Using the permanent marker, draw features on your bird.

3. Paint the ball all over. You can use your paperclip loop to keep your fingers out of the drying paint.

4. Poke a feather into each side of the bird for wings, and a third at the back for a tail. As with the paperclip, you can dip them in glue for added stability.

5. Tie one end of your yarn to the loop. Your bird is ready to fly!

Plan a Giraffe and Bird Party Part 2: Handprint Loot Bags

Posted on July 30th, 2012 by pajamapress

This summer we’re having a virtual party with our favourite funny friends from Don’t Laugh at Giraffe! We’ve already given you some game ideas; today we’ll be sharing an activity that lets kids get in on the fun of making their own loot bags!



One paper bag per child

Tempera paint—mix it with a little liquid hand soap to make it easier to get out of clothes

Plastic plates or lids to hold the paint

Paper towel and newspapers to help with the mess

Black pencil crayon or marker

Hand print 1

Step 1

Press your hand into the yellow paint.

Hand print2

Step 2

Press your painted hand onto the paper bag.

Wash your hand!

Handprint Giraffe Art

Step 3

Dip your finger in the brown pain and give your giraffe spots.


Step 4

One the paint is dry, add details with a pencil crayon or marker.

You can make a thumbprint bird using the same technique!


Stay tuned for even more fun with Giraffe and Bird!

Plan a Giraffe and Bird Party Part 1: Games

Posted on July 20th, 2012 by pajamapress

Giraffe and Bird are unlikely companions, but their antics in Rebecca Bender’s Giraffe and Bird and Don’t Laugh at Giraffe have charmed children, teachers and parents across the country. 

For those who just can’t get enough, we’re building a virtual Giraffe and Bird party, complete with games, food, crafts, and favours—each one of them healthy, wholesome, and kid-tested. Over the course of the summer we’ll be bringing you step-by-step instructions so that you can have your own party! And don’t forget to share any fun ideas of your own in the comments. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Today we begin with…GAMES:


The Materials: 

One glass of water per child

One drinking straw per child

The Setup:

The straw goes in the glass of water.

The glass of water goes on the ground.

The Goal:

Be the first to drink a whole glass of water.

The Catch:

No bending your arms or legs!


The Materials

Thin slices (“leaves”) of green apple

A paring knife

Kitchen string

The Setup:

Make a hole in each apple slice with the paring knife and feed a length of string through.

Appoint half of the children as “trees” for the first round and half as “giraffes”. They can switch afterward.

Give each “tree” a leaf to dangle.

The Goal

Just like Giraffe when he’s browsing for leaves, eat your apple slice without using your hands!


If you’re preparing your apple slices ahead of time, let them sit in lemon juice to keep them from browning.


Bird HATES it when Giraffe steps on an earthworm. It means the worm will be stretched all out of shape by the time Bird pulls it free. How long will the worm stretch? Find out!


The Materials

One empty drinking glass (Giraffe’s “hoof”) per pair of children

One gummy worm per child


The Setup

Partner A presses down with the drinking glass on one end of the gummy worm

Partner B stretches the gummy worm as far as it will go

The Goal

To have the most stretched-out gummy worm in the group! Check your results with a ruler.


The Materials

A pole that can be held horizontally at various heights

The Goal

This is just like regular limbo, except instead of bending backward, you’re bending forward! Don’t forget to keep those front hooves hands off the ground!

Stay Tuned for food, craft, and favour ideas for your Giraffe and Bird party!

Open Book Ontario’s “Read To Me” series features Don’t Laugh at Giraffe

Posted on June 4th, 2012 by pajamapress

Open Book’s new series Read To Me features “magical children’s books that kids will ask you to read multiple times, and that you’ll love reading.”

On May 31 Read To Me featured Don’t Laugh at Giraffe and explained why it’s a great read for everyone:

WHY KIDS WILL LOVE IT: The relationships in Don’t Laugh at Giraffe cleverly reflect the often-confusing relationships kids have with other kids. Figuring out how to be with others is tricky for children, and they will likely welcome the conversation the book can inspire. Bender’s illustrations are gorgeous, colourful and lively.

WHY GROWN UPS WILL LOVE IT: The book’s message is lovely and an important one for children to understand: we all need to be strong enough to stand up against bullies and to stick up for our friends. The book’s appeal doesn’t just lie in its message; Bender’s charming and funny writing and vibrant illustrations make Don’t Laugh at Giraffe a very entertaining book to read out loud.”

Click here to read the full post


Don’t Laugh at Giraffe is “Highly Recommended” by CM Magazine

Posted on June 4th, 2012 by pajamapress

internal artYoungsters who first met this delightful animal odd couple in Giraffe and Bird…will be pleased that the sometimes squabbling duo are back again in another story about friendship. As author/illustrator Bender demonstrated in Giraffe and Bird, she knows when a picture, rather than words, should carry the story. …A fun read, but one which still speaks to the meaning of friendship.

Highly Recommended.

Dave Jenkinson, CM‘s editor, livesin Winnipeg, MB.

Click here to read the full review