The Nearsighted Giraffe
written by A.H. Benjamin; illustrated by Gill McLean
2016 (QEB Publishing)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
"I'm not wearing them," said Giraffe. "A giraffe in glasses would look silly!"
Giraffe has a problem and it's not her sight. Oh sure, she can't see things unless they are right in front of her. But that's not the real issue. Her predicament is that she is very worried about what the other animals think. After throwing Snake for a loop, her friends make a pair of glasses to help her see. Giraffe refuses to wear them. Instead, she finds something preposterous to wear to avoid her need for the spectacles. To avoid bumping her head on branches, she wears a bicycle helmet. Sitting on a thorny bush causes her to tie a pillow on her bottom. This is the giraffe that said glasses would make her look silly. Right here is where you could teach a lesson about irony. What will it take for Giraffe to see the light? Let's just say she gets an opportunity to reflect on her choices.
The obvious reason for reading this book to your class would be to lift the stigma of wearing glasses. That's a noble thought, but I think there's more that you can do with this book. The Nearsighted Giraffe is one of the best mentor texts for teaching cause and effect that I've seen lately. It's full of examples. This book would also be great for working on the skill of retelling. You have several events in sequence that a reader could remember. Lessons on using quotation marks and how to storyboard for writing would also receive a boost from this giraffe. Don't be nearsighted and think Giraffe has only one trick up her sleeve.