Giraffe of Montana, Volume I
Giraffe of Montana lives in a cave near his friends—beavers, kangaroos, raccoons, zebras, lions, opossums, an elephant, a crocodile and more. This out-of-the-ordinary assortment of animals dwell in a kingdom ruled by a king and queen and two princesses named Isabel. Volume one relates four short stories about these diverse animals that get along together despite their dramatic differences.
In the first story, “Friends,” the animals help Giraffe prepare for a trip to Florida to invite Allison the albino alligator to move to Montana. Using his special talents, Billy the beaver builds a special railroad car to transport Allison back to their kingdom. Casper crocodile, who prides himself on his elegant tapered nose, learns to share his pond with the beautiful snub-nosed gator and both reptiles learn to accept the bodies they have.
In “Olympics” the animals tell Allison about Casper’s success in the Montana Olympics. The newly-settled gator likes her new home and enjoys the thrilling tale of the race that rain nearly ruined.
In “Finding a Tree” the animals, led by Giraffe, hunt for a more spacious meeting place and the perfect tree for Christmas. Feeling a little crowded at their recent gatherings, the animals search until they find a place where they can celebrate the holiday together.
In “Christmas” the animals make the most of their time together because the winter weather usually limits their fellowship. They create a festive atmosphere as they decorate with lights and their own unique treasures. Again, the animals work together and use their differences to enhance their holiday and their friendships.
Despite the author “borrowing” characters like Kanga, Roo and Rudolph from other authors, “Giraffe of Montana” provides children with a likeable chapter book. Although the animals talk, Piper keeps them true to their real-life natures exposing children to the lifestyles of these unique animals, including their dwellings and eating habits. The book repeatedly emphasizes how differences can be accepted and treasured as well as the value of friendship. These great lessons for kids are delivered in story form without overt lectures or moralizing. Children will want to visit Montana again as well as access the related Web site at www.GiraffeofMontana.com.