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Oh Dear, Geoffrey!

Overview

Can this very clumsy giraffe learn to stand tall?

Geoffrey is a very tall, very clumsy giraffe. He tries to make friends with the animals down on the ground, but he just trips, slips, and falls . . . usually flat on his face. Poor old Geoffrey tries everything to fit in, but it?s only when he realizes that his height can be an advantage that he stretches out his long neck and finds a host of friends in the trees. Soon he discovers he can find ...

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Overview

Can this very clumsy giraffe learn to stand tall?

Geoffrey is a very tall, very clumsy giraffe. He tries to make friends with the animals down on the ground, but he just trips, slips, and falls . . . usually flat on his face. Poor old Geoffrey tries everything to fit in, but it’s only when he realizes that his height can be an advantage that he stretches out his long neck and finds a host of friends in the trees. Soon he discovers he can find friends just by being himself.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
02/24/2014
An ungainly giraffe stars in U.K.-based author/artist O’Neill’s first children’s book, and her heavily splattered and speckled gouache-and-collage illustrations help make Geoffrey’s every pratfall a real event. The book’s title is also its exasperated refrain, and it’s deployed whenever Geoffrey does a full body-plant in the dirt (“His legs are wibbly-wobbly... and his knees are bendy-buckly,” says the narrator by way of explanation) or makes a spread-eagled splash in the middle of the watering hole. Geoffrey is only trying to be friendly, and he eventually learns that he’s better off sticking with treetop-dwelling monkeys and birds than bending down to attempt to hobnob with meerkats and flamingoes. There’s a fussy primness to the narration that can feel at odds with the story’s slapstick moments, but O’Neill’s illustrations do a marvelous job of bringing both Geoffrey and his dusty savannah habitat to life, whether through the dust clouds that erupt as Geoffrey becomes entangled with a herd of elephants; the passel of monkeys clinging playfully to his limbs, neck, and tail; or the resplendently starry sky they gaze into before falling asleep. Ages 3–7. (May)
From the Publisher
The cheery, mixed-media illustrations, replete with gentle humor, show Geoffrey and the various animals—meerkats, elephants, rhinoceroses—he tries to befriend, even as he overlooks some small, feathered potential companions who hover nearby. ... Children of unusual height or with characteristics not yet valued are sure to identify with this sympathetic portrayal, while all will admire Geoffrey’s perseverance as well as his dogged, hit-or-miss efforts to make friends. A good choice to encourage the development of empathy and show how individual difference is a plus. Oh yes, Geoffrey!
—Kirkus Reviews

With superb artistic detail in these mural-like spreads, a gangly, dejected giraffe wanders a savannah of splendid color and creative design, attempting to make friends. The adorable, chattering gray monkeys and polite bluebirds help Geoffrey become comfortable in his own skin, a wibbly-wobbly, bendy-buckly patchwork of fabrics, newspring, and paint splatterings. This gorgeous (and funny) picture book explores the opportunities found in companionship and nature.
—ForeWord

O’Neill’s illustrations do a marvelous job of bringing both Geoffrey and his dusty savannah habitat to life, whether through the dust clouds that erupt as Geoffrey becomes entangled with a herd of elephants; the passel of monkeys clinging playfully to his limbs, neck, and tail; or the resplendently starry sky they gaze into before falling asleep.
—Publishers Weekly

Delightfully written in concrete, alliterative prose with vibrant illustrations, this picture book is a gem.
—Library Media Connection

Simple text with random words in bold make this offering as bright and fun as Geoffrey himself. The text and story are not complicated and would be a quick read for parents, teachers, or librarians to share with preschoolers. The highlight of this title are the illustrations that move with Geoffrey and his bright face. The giraffe’s excitement jumps off the page, even when he falls.
—School Library Journal

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Irish author/illustrator O’Neill makes her picture book debut with this story of a very tall, very clumsy young giraffe. Since Geoffrey hasn’t yet learned to manage his long legs and extra long neck, he finds himself out of control when he tries to make friends. Accompanied always by one or more brilliant blue and yellow birds (rollers?), he frightens off some meerkats and bumbles into a herd of elephants leaving them in a tangle. Even at a waterhole, Geoffrey causes havoc to an assortment of creatures (flamingos, a zebra, a rhinoceros), falling in and splashing them with spray. “Oh dear, Geoffrey!” What’s a wet, muddy giraffe in need of friends to do? Youngest readers and viewers will no doubt cheer (or giggle) when a bunch of tiny, child-faced monkeys begin to climb up Geoffrey’s long legs. Yes, they are friends, delighted that Geoffrey can take them into a treetop, where they twine and curl around him and the tree, making lovely loops of their furry tails, arms, and legs. Those blue and yellow birds would love to be his friends, too. “You can reach as high as the sky,” they tweet as evening falls, “and see as far as the stars!” It’s a satisfying ending for Geoffrey, monkeys, birds, and small listeners who feel awkward making friends. Seemingly superimposed on watercolor washes and opaque paint, leaves, giraffe spots or animal shadows are often composed of tiny collage bits revealing patterns, words, or floral motifs, with lots of spattered paint for emphasis. Text slants and swirls across the wide horizontal spreads, inviting kids to stretch out on the floor and marvel at O’Neill’s startling mixed media illustrations on oversized white pages. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft; Ages 3 to 6.
School Library Journal
04/01/2014
PreS-K—Geoffrey has an appealing face but the long legs and awkwardness of all young giraffes. His enthusiasm and friendliness are adorable but his clumsiness and size make it almost impossible to share moments with animals small and close to the ground, like meerkats. He finally gives up trying to make friends and heads to his favorite tree for a snack. There, he meets monkeys looking for someone tall to help them up higher and birds looking for friends. His success with these creatures gives Geoffrey just the encouragement he needs. Simple text with random words in bold make this offering as bright and fun as Geoffrey himself. The text and story are not complicated and would be a quick read for parents, teachers, or librarians to share with preschoolers. The highlight of this title are the illustrations that move with Geoffrey and his bright face. The giraffe's excitement jumps off the page, even when he falls.—Susan Lissim, Dwight School, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
2014-03-03
Can a clumsy giraffe make friends? Geoffrey, a lanky young giraffe, is all neck and limbs, and as a result, he is often awkward and ungainly. Onomatopoeic text curves around his wobbly legs and slippery hooves as his efforts at making friends inevitably end in chaos, confusion and the titular repeating refrain, "Oh dear, Geoffrey!" The cheery, mixed-media illustrations, replete with gentle humor, show Geoffrey and the various animals—meerkats, elephants, rhinoceroses—he tries to befriend, even as he overlooks some small, feathered potential companions who hover nearby. While trying to cheer himself up with some tasty leaves, Geoffrey discovers some needed, welcoming monkeys that appreciate his lofty height as well as the birds who've been there all along. Surrounded by his many new playmates, he's free to see the good points of being so tall, including the ability to "see as far as the stars!" Children of unusual height or with characteristics not yet valued are sure to identify with this sympathetic portrayal, while all will admire Geoffrey's perseverance as well as his dogged, hit-or-miss efforts to make friends. A good choice to encourage the development of empathy and show how individual difference is a plus. Oh yes, Geoffrey! (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763666590
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 5/13/2014
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 153,092
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.90 (w) x 11.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Gemma O’Neill graduated from University College Falmouth, where she specialized in picture books and illustration. She met the Templar team at the Bologna Book Fair.
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