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Children's Fiction Friendship

Don't Laugh at Giraffe

illustrated by Rebecca Bender

Pajama Press Inc.
Initial publish date
May 2012
Friendship, Peer Pressure, Humorous Stories
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2012
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 4 to 7
  • Grade: p to 2


Giraffe and Bird make the oddest pair. All they do is spat, squabble, and get on each other's nerves. In the morning, Bird uses his loudest outdoor voice, so Giraffe makes a disgusting noise as he clears his phlegmy throat, so Bird tickles his neck, and . . . well, you get the picture. There’s nothing Bird likes more than to have a laugh at the expense of his lanky friend, and one dry day at the pond, he gets his chance. Giraffe's awkward attempt to reach the water without getting his hooves wet raises a cackle from a flamingo, a chortle from the zebra, then a howl from the hippo. Soon everyone is having a good laugh . . . especially Bird. In fact, Bird is having a ball until he realizes that his mortified friend has left the pond without quenching his thirst. Now Bird is sorry. How will he get Giraffe back?

Author/illustrator Rebecca Bender's hilarious illustrations accompany a story about empathy and the trials of friendship that will persuade young readers that it's okay to look goofy and laugh at yourself once in a while, especially when you are not alone.

About the author

Rebecca Bender is a well-loved author-illustrator of children’s books as well as an art director and designer. Her picture books include Not Friends, Don’t Laugh at Giraffe, Giraffe Meets Bird, Peach Girl (illustration), and How Do You Feel?. She has also illustrated the chapter books Slug Days, Penguin Days, and Duck Days. Rebecca’s awards and honors include the OLA Blue Spruce Award, a Cooperative Children’s Book Center best-of-the-year choice, and a Toronto Public Library best-of-the-year selection. Rebecca graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design at the top of her class, earning the Medal for Illustration. She lives in Burlington, Ontario, with her husband and two children.


Rebecca Bender's profile page


  • Short-listed, Rainforest of Reading Award
  • Runner-up, Blue Spruce Award, Ontario Library Association
  • Commended, Resource Links "The Year's Best"

Excerpt: Don't Laugh at Giraffe (illustrated by Rebecca Bender)

No one would argue that Giraffe and Bird are an odd pair. Spat, scrap, and squabble--they almost always get on each other's nerves.

Editorial Reviews

About Don't Laugh at Giraffe

2013 OLA Blue Spruce Award runner-up

2014 Rainforest of Reading Award shortlist

2012 Resource Links "The Year's Best" selection

STARRED REVIEW "Don't Laugh at Giraffe is a warm, gentle tale with a good message and plenty of funny moments, making it a great choice for sharing. After all, the story reminds us, it's always better to laugh with a friend than at one."—Quill & Quire Starred Review

"Bender paints the animals against a bright savanna backdrop, emphasizing their emotional ups and downs with exaggerated facial expressions. The conversational text gracefully delivers a message about kindness and having a sense of humor."—Publishers Weekly

"Young readers will be able to internalize the lesson of empathy well, as it is so subtle; Bender does not preach at all, but merely shows her readers - largely with her beautiful illustrations - one option in this social situation."—Resource Links

"[Bender] knows when a picture, rather than words, should carry the story...A fun read, but one which still speaks to the meaning of friendship...Highly Recommended."—CM Magazine

"Author and illustrator Rebecca Bender has fashioned a delightful children's picture book for kids ages 4 through 7. It is one thing for people to laugh with one another in unison and quite another thing to laugh at others. Seeing his friend humiliated and unhappy brings out Bird's caring and creativity. Don't Laugh at Giraffe covers both the good and the bad sides of laughter."—Spirituality & Practice

"The relationships in Don't Laugh at Giraffe cleverly reflect the often-confusing relationships kids have with other kids. Figuring out how to be with others is tricky for children, and they will likely welcome the conversation the book can inspire. Bender's illustrations are gorgeous, colourful and lively."—Open Book Canada

"In this book, Rebecca examines the delicate nature of embarrassment and friendship...[C]hildren will go through many situations with their friends that they will have to grapple with and find solutions for. Having books on hand that show this as a normal process in friendships will support them in these journeys, and open the conversations with thinking about how to solve their own problems in a creative and positive way."—Toronto Public Library

"Bold acrylics fill the pages...[Bender] creates personalities with expressive visages (hard to do on a small bird) and morphologies, with lessons to teach and learn. Recognizing that we're all a little bit Giraffe and a little Bird makes them even more endearing."—CanLit for LittleCanadians

"The artwork is so expressive and appealing to the book's young audience...the author makes some sparkling decisions about word choice, encouraging an expressive and engaging shared reading."—Sal's Fiction Addiction


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