The Long Tall Journey

Jan Wahl, illus. by Laurent Gapaillard. Creative Editions, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-56846-230-1
Wahl and Gapaillard detail the 19th-century story of a giraffe transported to Paris from Africa, a trip also recounted in Judith St. George's Zarafa, Nancy Milton's The Giraffe That Walked to Paris, and other picture books. Created digitally, Gapaillard's sweeping spreads have the warmth and richness of oil paintings. Despite the drama in the images—a flock of flamingoes scatters as men lasso the giraffe to the ground—the animal's narrative voice is quietly matter-of-fact: "One day, men lead me away from the trees. I want to cry out, but giraffes have no voice. Where do they take me?" The giraffe's journey continues from a river boat to a ship that crosses the sea, arriving on French shores and walking through forests and fields of sunflowers before reaching the dusk-lit palace of King Charles X. The story strikes a careful balance between conveying the harsh aspects of the giraffe's capture and assuring readers of her eventual contentment: "At last, men build me my own beautiful palace. It has a fine wood floor and thick, fresh straw in patterns on the wall. There are no crocodiles here." Ages 6–up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/28/2015
Release date: 09/15/2015
Genre: Children's
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