Andreae, Giles – Giraffes Can’t Dance


Retrieved from
  • Age Range: 4 – 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – 3
  • Lexile Measure: 450L
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Orchard Books; 1st American edition (September 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439287197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439287197


Gerald the giraffe longs to dance, but his legs are too skinny and his neck is too long. His knees buckle whenever he tries to twirl. At the Jungle Dance, the warthogs waltz, the chimps cha-cha, and the lions tango. “Giraffes can’t dance,” they all jeer when it’s Gerald’s turn to prance. But there is one little creature who believes in Gerald. “Everything makes music,” the cricket explains, “if you really want it to.” So Gerald starts swaying to his own sweet tune. With light-footed rhymes and high-stepping illustrations, this tale is gentle inspiration for every child with dreams of greatness.

Rationale for inclusion: Gerald the Giraffe embodies the anxiety that comes from being the “odd man out.” Children are naturally inclined to want to fit into their surroundings, it’s a part of the conforming process that helps them make friends and find commonalities in others. However, there will always be a moment when a child feels out of place, left out, or just incapable. The importance of Gerald the Giraffe is that he shows that swaying to one’s own sweet tune is acceptable and downright beautiful, and that we won’t always be the same as those around us–and that’s wonderful. Uniqueness is a blessing.

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