A Giraffe and a Half
By Peter Lewis,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Sweet, madcap picture book filled with zany, silly rhymes.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Teaches kids about the form and joy of poetry.
Implicit messages that the world can be crazy, animals are funny, and playing with words is fun. And you can have a lot of fun drawing pictures that illustrate a story or poem.
Positive Role Models
The people and animals pictured and described in the poems seem optimistic and fun-loving.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Giraffe and a Half is Shel Silverstein's wonderfully zany, rhyming picture book about a boy and his giraffe. The writing is light and freewheeling, and the artwork so full of life that it might topple off the page at any moment. And it's been re-relased in a beautiful 50th anniversary hardcover edition.
Where to Read
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What's the Story?
Take a giraffe, stretch it by another half, and add a rat in a hat and a rose on his nose and a whole lot more, and you have the makings of a madcap Shel Silverstein cumulative tale. The verse is sweetly upbeat, and the line drawings -- as always with Shel Silverstein -- speak volumes more than their spare elegance would indicate.
Is It Any Good?
There is a brightness to Shel Silverstein's humor that makes one glad to be alive. His craziness is often just this side of impossible; who knows, you may find yourself in one of his situations someday, if you are so lucky. Everyone has to laugh and dream, which is why Silverstein has sold a gazillion books -- and bully for him.
Silverstein enjoys coming full circle in his stories, and the same holds true here. Up, up, up the tale climbs, threatening a drop into chaos with each new step, and then slowly readers exhale as, one by one, the elements surrender to whatever odd fate lies in wait for them. The line drawings, too, are operatic in their gestures and give each character real distinction.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how the author uses lively prose and vivid drawings to tell a story with silly overtones. Do you notice a pattern in the way the author uses words that rhyme? Can you think of other words that rhyme with "giraffe" and "half"? Or "rat" and "hat"? Or "suit" and "cute"?
How does this collection compare with other Shel Silverstein poetry books? Which one is your favorite?
Try writing a poem yourself -- silly or serious, rhyming or not. Illustrate it with crayons, markers, or paint.
- Author: Shel Silverstein
- Illustrator: Shel Silverstein
- Genre: Poetry
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
- Publication date: May 1, 1975
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 7
- Number of pages: 48
- Last updated: August 15, 2021
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