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The Story of Diva and Flea & Giraffes Can’t Dance

Hi Guys,

Not much new to report this week. Programs are in the works, displays are pretty much set for the summer, storytimes don’t start up again until September. I’m considering adding a new section to my blog: It happened at the library. Just a weekly round up of all the strange going-ons. If you’re a librarian you know what I’m talking about. We’ll see.

I did finish the Ascendance trilogy this week by Jennifer A. Nielsen. As usual, the first book was by far the best but as a whole the trilogy is worth a read. Frankly, I was surprised by how much torture and violence there was in general in the last two books. It was done tastefully and considering the things kids watch on TV and the internet these days, pales in comparison. But still, would be worth a read through first before deciding if it is appropriate for your little ones. Overall, a good story that kept me interested; the feels were there!

This week I figured I’d write two mini reviews.


The Story of Diva and Flea by Mo Willems & Tony DiTerlizzi

The Story of Diva and Flea is an early chapter book for 2nd-4th graders. The chapters are alternatively narrated by our main characters, Diva and Flea. Flea is a flanuer and he is one of the greats. He travels Paris on his own to see what he can see. Diva is a small dog who lives a secluded life in a fenced in courtyard in Paris, which she has never left. But Diva is well cared for and master of her small domain. A chance encounter causes these two unlikely friends to step outside their comfort zones and explore a different kind of life.

What drew my attention to this book were the beautiful illustrations that reminded me a little of the movie Lady and the Tramp. With that in mine, the story didn’t disappoint. I was expecting a rough and tumbled, streets smart cat and a sheltered but kind dog–and that is exactly what I got. I also love reading stand alone books from popular series authors, like Mo Willems, and seeing what else they can do.

This would be a great easy reader for kids who want to transition to longer chapter books. The font is not intimidating; there are still pictures to break up the text; and the chapters are short little snippits that are complete on their own but also pull together for a complete story. Yes, there are some French words in the story but the meanings are usually there in the context. Maybe a vocabulary list at the back would have been good but not necessary.

The Story of Diva and Flea was a short, early chapter book with beautiful illustrations and a relate-able theme of being brave and trying something new.


Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae & Guy Parker-Rees

Giraffes Can’t Dance is a picture book new to my library. The cover caught my eye and I just had to pick it up. This picture book is about Gerald, a clumsy Giraffe who desperately wants to dance but who just can’t find his rhythm. He’d love to join in with the others at the annual Jungle Dance but all the other animals laugh at him and mock him and intimidated, Gerald goes off on his own. Down in the dumps, Gerald is given some words of wisdom from a cricket, who encourages him to be different and proud. Inspired, Gerald hears the music and moves to his own beat…a beat the other animals are wowed by and Gerald becomes the life of the party.

This picture book has a little of everything–Pleasing illustrations, good rhythm and rhyme, a fairly good pace and a lesson parents everywhere want to share: that being different is OK, so embrace what is different about you and make it your own.

The story itself is a little long for a storytime book but not so long that you wouldn’t be able to use it for a jungle theme. Because it rhymes it is a little difficult to shorten the story by skipping pages. There were also one or two pages where the rhymes were a little clunky to fit the story. But I think the kids would laugh at the different dances the animals do and at Gerald’s clumsy attempts at greatness–extra points if you attempt the dances yourself!

Overall, Giraffes Can’t Dance was a fun picture book with a great lesson. Honestly, if it rhymes or can be sung it is usually a go in my book.

That’s all for today!


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