Giraffe Problems, from Jory John and Lane Smith, is a funny and uplifting story that explores a very important and memorable message about self-esteem, body positivity and acceptance.
The story follows Edward the giraffe who has a problem — a long neck problem. It’s too long, too narrow, too high and simply — just too necky. Edward feels bad about his neck and often compares himself to others. He tries everything from hiding behind trees and dressing his neck up in lots of scarves — but nothing works!
Just when Edward is feeling really low, he meets Cyrus the turtle who also shares the same neck woes. Cyrus tries to help Edward to understand that his neck has a purpose after all.
The illustrations by Lane Smith are beautiful and eye-catching — full of texture, patterns and soft earthy tones. Smith’s artwork is unique, experimental and full of different types of media and brush strokes. He brings the animals and their emotions to life, showing lots of character through his work.
The language begins with an informal approach which is effective as it instantly addresses Edward’s worries about his long neck and that he is talking directly to you as a reader. Different fonts are also used in the text for different characters in the story and makes use of italics and larger font size in parts. The language is slightly complex and sophisticated at times, especially towards the end, but this doesn’t affect the story — it makes for an amusing read for young readers.
There are several different varieties of spreads and layouts within Giraffe Problems. There is one flip-up page which is placed to give extra impact and also represents the length of Edward’s neck and the purpose of it. This single page also shows the importance of friendship and cooperation.