Friday, November 09, 2018

Tall Troubles: Giraffe Problems by Jory Johns

I feel bad about my neck.

I do. I can't help it. It's too long.

Edward has a thing about his neck. It's too tall, too blotchy, too twisty... too ...everything.

He can't help himself. His naked neck is just too much! Everyone stares at him, no matter how he strives to disguise it.

I've added a scarf. Two scarves. Bundles of scarves.

I've tried bows... ties....

Edward concludes that couture is not going to solve his neck problem. Still, other animals--warthogs, zebras, alligators, lions--have reasonable necks. He complains to his mom that his neck is one that only a mother could love.

What Edward needs in some perspective on the naked truth. His lowly friend Cyrus Turtle has a different view.

"I have admired you neck from afar," he confesses. "I'm basically neckless!"

Cyrus tries stretching his neck as far as it will go toward the banana he longs for. It's way, way out of reach!

Edward realizes that he has just what it takes to make Cyrus feel fulfilled. He grabs him with his twisty neck and lifts him up, up, up. Cyrus gets his banana, and suddenly Edward feels much better about his neck.

It's the long and short of of it, as far as necks go, in Jory John's latest, Giraffe Problems (Random House, 2018), in his companion book to Penguin Problems (see review here). In the clever block prints of artist Lane Smith, the theme of "vive la difference" is illustrated with humor and good-natured originality, especially in the two-page vertical gatefold in which Cyrus the Turtle take the trip up, up, up, to the fruit of the banana tree with the help of his, er, well-endowed friend Edward. Nobody's perfect, but everyone has something to offer in this clever book on self-images. Says Publishers Weekly, "Lighthearted palaver by John flows effortlessly and the pair's courtly manners are sure to garner laughs."



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