Giraffe and Bird is a delightful new picture book by Rebecca Bender about a couple of curmudgeonly characters who get on each other’s nerves. When bird makes faces at giraffe, giraffe responds by sticking out his tongue. Bird can’t stand giraffe and giraffe can’t abide bird. The two don’t even try to get along. So, it’s no surprise that one day Giraffe tells bird to “Scram,” and Bird tells giraffe to “Get Lost!” It takes weathering a scary storm alone to bring each of them to their senses. Bird is glum without anyone to “pick and peck” while giraffe is lonely with no one to “pester and perturb him.”
Bender’s richly textured yet spare backgrounds help to spotlight her marvelously expressive characters. Giraffe and Bird may be far from saccharine sweet, but the friendship message comes through loud and clear in a refreshingly humorous way. Onomatopoeia and enlarged, colored words make this an easy and fun read-aloud. This debut author/illustrator from Toronto has hit the ball out of the park with her first picture book. If Giraffe and Bird is any indication of what’s to come, Dancing Cat Books is well on its way to the major leagues of the kid’s publishing.