Giraffes Can’t Dance

By Giles Andreae: Giraffes Can't Dance

Our story this week, Giraffe’s Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae, wasn’t exactly a classic of children’s literature, but it was still a fun book to go along with our Bible lesson on “joy.”The story is about Gerald, a giraffe who wants to join in the annual Jungle Dance, in which all the African animals show off their fabulous dancing abilities.  Gerald, however, is a bit clumsy and gets teased when he attempts to participate.  After he slinks away in embarrassment, a wise friend encourages him to listen to the music around him in nature, and he ends up dancing from his heart, impressing all who see him.

The book was sure to be a hit in our house, as Elijah especially loves animals.  I was surprised to find it also also sparked a lot of questions from Ian, which led to a great learning experience!  I wasn’t planning to do much with this story other than read it, but here were a few of the places Ian’s questions led us:

What’s a cha-cha?

Several different dances are mentioned, but the “cha-cha” was the one Ian noticed.  I found a clip on YouTube that demontrated what it looks like.

what kind of sounds to baboons make?

When I lived out in the Kenyan bush I was often awakened by baboons, so I know the sound all too well.  But I didn’t think I’d be able to demonstrate very accurately, so we headed back to YouTube.  Which led to the next question:

 What do baboons eat?

This fun clip showed us the answer to that one.

I’ve been marveling at what a wonderful resource we have in the Internet.  Ian loves listening to Old Mother West Wind and other animal stories by Thornton W. Burgess (all of which we downloaded for free from Librivox, as well as free Kindle editions so I can read them out loud to him).  These books really expand his vocabulary, but when it comes to plants and animals, he often doesn’t have any frame of reference for understanding.  Here are a few of things he asked about this week: bulrushes, red-wings (birds), grouse, woodchucks, possums, and yellow-jackets.  I just went to Google Images and we found all sorts of great pictures to help him understand these new vocabulary words.  Twenty years ago we would have had to go to the library just to find the stories, and then we’d have to keep a list to look up pictures on our next trip.  How blessed we are to have so much information right at our fingertips!

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Posted on June 9, 2012, in Literature Units, Preschool and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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