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 drink…and 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!
Posted on July 17th, 2012 by pajamapress
Have you ever been totally puzzled by the peregrinations, bumps and grinds that children experience in their friendships? It was always endlessly fascinating for me to watch the way children bicker and argue with those children they declare to be their best friends. Both with my own children and those I taught, it was evident that there were constant readjustments being made in the relationships that children have with each other.
With that I would like to welcome a relatively new author who is able to capture that paradox. Rebecca Bender has just two picture books in print, and is a relatively new voice in Canadian literature, but what a voice it is. She has captured this unusual nature of friendship between children in both of the picture books available.
…Giraffe and Bird…resonated so well with children that it won the 2012 Blue Spruce award voted on by thousands of children across Ontario.
This title has been followed up by a hilarious sequel, Don’t Laugh at Giraffe. In this book, Rebecca examines the delicate nature of embarrassment and friendship… How Bird handles this situation is a wonderful blueprint for friendship and problem solving.
Your children will go through many situations with their friends that they will have to grapple with and find solutions for. Having books on hand that show this as a normal process in friendships will support them in these journeys, and open the conversations with thinking about how to solve their own problems in a creative and positive way.
–Peggy Thomas, Toronto Public Library
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Posted on June 4th, 2012 by pajamapress
Youngsters 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.
Dave Jenkinson, CM‘s editor, livesin Winnipeg, MB.
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Posted on May 28th, 2012 by pajamapress
Pajama Press author Rebecca Bender has taken home the Blue Spruce Award for her debut picture book, Giraffe and Bird (Dancing Cat Books, 2010)!
The Blue Spruce Award is part of the Ontario Library Association’s annual recreational reading program, the Forest of Reading. Readers from across the province voted for their favourite in a shortlist of books for their age category; Giraffe and Bird was chosen by voters aged 4 to 7.
Rebecca received the award at the 2012 Festival of Trees on May 15, the same day her second picture book, Don’t Laugh at Giraffe, hit the shelves. Quill & Quire has already given the sequel a starred review, saying, “Endearing animal buddies Giraffe and Bird return in Rebecca Bender’s stellar second book, Don’t Laugh at Giraffe…a warm, gentle tale with a good message and plenty of funny moments, making it a great choice for sharing. After all, the story reminds us, it’s always better to laugh with a friend that at one.”
Pajama Press will be releasing a Giraffe and Bird greeting card line this summer, and further books are being planned. For those who just can’t wait, the characters will interact with fans on special Facebook pages, The Giraffe and The Bird.
Posted on May 24th, 2012 by pajamapress
* Don’t Laugh at Giraffe
“The amusing duo that tickled funny bones and captured hearts in Rebecca Bender’s 2010 picture book debut, Giraffe and Bird, return in Don’t Laugh at Giraffe.
The book opens with a fun montage of all the ways Giraffe and Bird irritate each other. Giraffe barely tolerates Bird’s chirpy morning song. Likewise, Bird plugs his ears when Giraffe clears his extra-long throat. Nonetheless, they are friends, which makes Bird’s part in embarrassing Giraffe at the watering hole that much harder to bear. Afterward, Bird feels horrible, so he comes up with a clever way to win back his friend and show the power of a well-placed joke.
As with her first book, Bender excels at bringing to life the precious, amusing intricacies of friendships (particularly young friendships) in a captivating, likeable story. The annoyances the two pals visit upon each other are instantly relatable, and readers of all ages will recognize bits of themselves in stately Giraffe and silly Bird.
Bender’s visuals are equally charismatic. Rich, lush colours provide backdrops for wonderful close-ups of the characters’ faces as they express a range of emotions. The look on Bird’s face when he sees Giraffe sipping water from a mud puddle will melt the coldest of hearts. A stunning two-page spread (pictured above) of Giraffe’s head, with tiny Bird atop his nose, is especially impressive.
Don’t Laugh at Giraffe is a warm, gentle tale with a good message and plenty of funny moments, making it a great choice for sharing. After all, the story reminds us, it’s always better to laugh with a friend than at one.” – Sarah Sorensen, a writer in Toronto.
Posted on May 2nd, 2012 by pajamapress
Don't Laugh at Giraffe by Rebecca Bender
Pajama Press is giving away a signed copy of Rebecca Bender’s hilarious picture book Don’t Laugh at Giraffe and two sets of our exclusive Don’t Laugh at Giraffe greeting cards
Follow us and tweet this link to be entered in the draw. Be sure to use our handle, @PajamaPress1, so we know you’re participating!
DID YOU KNOW you can also interact with The Giraffe and The Bird on Facebook? Like their pages to get in on the fun.
About the book:
Don’t Laugh at Giraffe is the hilarious sequel to author/illustrator Rebecca Bender’s award-winning picture book Giraffe and Bird. The two heroes are back, squabbling, scrapping, and generally getting on each other’s nerves. But even though they don’t always act like friends, when Giraffe’s feelings are hurt, Bird finds a way to save the situation.
The book is a hardcover picture book for ages 4-7, but adults will enjoy it, too!
About the Greeting Cards:
These greeting cards, which will officially go on sale in August, 2012, come in four different designs featuring the original art of acclaimed author/illustrater Rebecca Bender. The cards measure 5 x 7 inches and are blank inside for personalized greetings.
Contest ends on May 15, 2012
Posted on April 18th, 2012 by pajamapress
The giraffe and the bird are making their Facebook debut! Following the success of their first picture book, Giraffe and Bird, the two companions are getting ready to star in its sequel, Don’t Laugh at Giraffe. The two are in a race to see who can get the most “Likes” on his Facebook page before the publication date on May 15, so be sure to click here to support the bird, and click here to support the giraffe!