Saturday, June 21, the longest day of the year, has been designated as World Giraffe Day. A day to raise awareness of giraffe conservation. You can find out more at the Giraffe Conservation Foundation HERE.
Giraffes are pretty unique creatures. They have very long necks, even though they have the same number of vertebrae as a human person. Those bones are just really big! And even though those necks are really long, they’re too short to reach the ground!!
We have a facility here in Glen Rose, Tx called Fossil Rim Wildlife Center that is devoted to the conservation and preservation of endangered animals. It is a drive through park where you can see various animals in a natural environment. There are giraffes at Fossil Rim that will come visit you in your car. Giraffes are not on the endangered list, but their populations are unstable and are a concern. Fossil Rim is involved with the Species Survival Plan for giraffes and keeps a breeding herd. I did a post about Fossil Rim some time ago. You can check it out HERE.
So, in honor of World Giraffe Day, I have a beautiful book for you –
by Dianne Hofmeyr
illustrated by Jane Ray
published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books in 2014
this is a historical fiction book suitable for K and up
This is an incredibly beautiful book. Exquisitely detailed watercolors and a Rhythmic, lyrical text turn the tale of a small giraffe’s journey into magic. In 1824, a Great Pasha in Egypt decided to send a gift to the King of France. His choice for the perfect gift was a giraffe. Hunters were sent out to capture a baby. A young man was assigned as the baby’s caretaker. A journey to Paris was planned.
Zeraffa traveled by boat up the Nile river, across the Mediterranean Sea, up the coast to Marseilles, France. People in Europe had never seen a giraffe before! Zeraffa made for quite a spectacle and people came from far and wide to see her. After their long boat ride, the giraffe and her caretaker, Atir, had to WALK 550 miles to get to Paris!! The entire trip took 2 1/2 years! That’s one long trip!! Whew! At the end of this book is a factual, historical write up of the story. You must check this book out!
And to go along with the picture book about Zeraffa, there is a non-fiction, adult type version as well.
A Giraffe’s True Story, from Deep in Africa to the Heart of Paris
by Michael Allin
published by Walker and Co. in 1998
My Mom Person read this one to me long ago. It is a truly fascinating tale. You can listen to an NPR interview with Mr Allin HERE.
You might also be able to find this interesting tale of raising a giraffe in Africa –
The home of the Melville’s in Kenya where they raised Daisy and established a giraffe sanctuary was turned into a hotel where you can stay and breakfast with giraffes! You can find out more about it HERE.
Another fun book about giraffes, with lots of interesting facts and information is
I hope that you can find a way to celebrate World Giraffe Day. If you happen to be in Texas you can come out to Fossil Rim and learn all about giraffes and even feed some! If you can’t make it to Fossil Rim, I’ll bet your local zoo might have some giraffes to visit. And grab one of these books and get carried away!
For your viewing pleasure —
Enjoy your weekend! and feed a giraffe! Or go view a giraffe. Or draw a giraffe. Or write a poem about a giraffe. Or pretend you’re a giraffe.
Your library friend on safari
Wow that one that walked sll thay to Paris. How exciting World Giraffe day. Thanks for the heads up Rhythm.
I think that this is an inaugural year for this special day.
Neat! I shall write it on the calendar.
Didn’t know there was a World Giraffe Day. Nice information about giraffes that I didn’t know. And, Zarafa is a remarkable story. Is there a reason why the name is spelled differently in both books?
I don’t know why they spell it different. Something to wonder about.
550 miles is a LOOOONG walk! I wish Mom could walk that far with me. Usually after 5 seconds, she says the work, “Time to go home.” Lightweight…
Love and licks,
Moms, huh?! I think I could swim that far – all the way across the ocean. That would be fun. That walk would take a very long time.
THAT would explain why the Zarrafa cafe chain has a giraffe on its logo….I wonder why their necks aren’t long enough to reach the ground. Seems an odd evolutionary quirk.
I don’t know of Zarrafa Cafes! But it seems that Zarafa is Arabic for giraffe. So there you have it! Their necks are quite a wonder. They are designed to eat the trees, but have a hard time getting a sip of water! Crazy.
You are a veritable font of interesting information! I shall tuck those tidbits away for when I’m playing along at home with various brainy-type game shows. Not that there’s many around any more…
I fell in love with giraffes years ago, the first time we went to Great Adventure and I got to see them running. I was amazed at how, though they seemed to be running fast, they appeared to be moving in slow, graceful motion. I did NOT know they were endangered! I find that so upsetting *sigh*
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I can’t imagine seeing a giraffe for the fist time and thinking it was some sort of trickery. That is one heck of an odyssey. I am proud I got through this short comment without once using the phrase ‘stick my neck out’.
Great book choices!