Zeraffa Giraffa

Zeraffa Giraffa

by Dianne Hofmeyr, Jane Ray
     
 

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This is the astonishing true story of Zeraffa, a giraffe who was sent as a gift from Egypt to France in 1826. A young boy, Atir, takes care of Zeraffa on her epic journey and the sailors sing songs as she gazes down at them. In France, Atir leads her through the countryside, and thousands of people marvel at Zeraffa. Paris falls in love with Zeraffa. The King

Overview

This is the astonishing true story of Zeraffa, a giraffe who was sent as a gift from Egypt to France in 1826. A young boy, Atir, takes care of Zeraffa on her epic journey and the sailors sing songs as she gazes down at them. In France, Atir leads her through the countryside, and thousands of people marvel at Zeraffa. Paris falls in love with Zeraffa. The King builds her a special house in the Jardin des Plantes. On warm nights, the young princess visits, while Atir whispers stories to Zeraffa of a hot land far away. The amazing story by an award-winning author of a giraffe's extraordinary voyage from Africa to Paris.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
10/01/2014
Gr 2–5—In 1824, the Pasha of Egypt and Sudan entrusted his servant boy Atir to transport a young giraffe to Paris as a gift for King Charles X of France. In brief, lyrical text infused with conversation, Hofmeyr describes their lengthy trip: down the Nile, across the Mediterranean, and—on foot— from Marseilles to Paris and the special rotunda in the Jardin des Plantes built by the delighted king to house his new treasure where all could come to see her. Gentle Zeraffa spends her evenings in the company of the king's granddaughter, who feeds her apples and combs her mane, and her devoted caretaker, Atir, who whispers stories of the land where she was born. Ray's watercolor folk art-style paintings are masterful in their texture and minute detail. An informational page recaps the historical facts. Judith St. George's Zarafa: The Giraffe Who Walked to the King (Philomel, 2009, o.p.) has short informative sentences and is geared toward younger children. Hofmeyr and Ray have captured a tiny slice of 19th-century history.—Susan Scheps, formerly at Shaker Public Library, OH
Kirkus Reviews
2014-06-25
Stories of animal feats that sound as if they can't possibly be true are always intriguing, and this tale is one that bears repeating.While several children's books have been written about the giraffe who sailed across the Mediterranean from Egypt and then walked from Marseilles to Paris, arriving in 1827 after three years, this version is written for a slightly younger age group than the others. In spite of limited details, the telling is lively and largely accords with the known facts. The pasha of Egypt charges his servant Atir, a young man who accompanies the giraffe and lives with her until her death in 1845, with delivering the unusual living present to King Charles X of France. The giraffe inspires all sorts of fashions, biscuits, topiary hedges and hairdos. The author's note provides background and notes that the building, La Rotunde, constructed to house Zeraffa (in other accounts often called Belle) still exists. Unfortunately, there are no source notes. Whether Louise Marie Thérèse, the king's granddaughter, really crept out each night to stand with Zeraffa and Atir, staring toward the African continent, is probably a matter of poetic license. The detail-filled paintings, bursting with boats on the Nile, French crowds and the giraffe's accessories, will draw all eyes during group or individual readings.Not a tall tale at all but a captivating bit of history. (Picture book. 5-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781847803443
Publisher:
Frances Lincoln Children's Books
Publication date:
04/07/2014
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
1,268,348
Product dimensions:
9.40(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
3 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Dianne Hofmeyr grew up on the tip of Southern Africa. An art teacher, she has written teenage novels and picture books, and has won the M-Net Award for fiction, as well as two IBBY Honor Books. Her other works include The Faraway Island, The Star Bearer and The Magic Bojabi Tree. She lives in the U.K.

Jane Ray's distinctive style has established her as a highly successful artist both for her paintings and her wrapping paper and cards. Increasingly well known as an illustrator, her picture books have attracted enormous attention around the world. The illustrator of Ahmed and the Feather Girl, she lives in London.

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