Zarafa: The Giraffe Who Walked to the King

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9780399250491: Zarafa: The Giraffe Who Walked to the King
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Zarafa is a beautiful and gentle giraffe . . . so wonderful, in fact, that the ruler of Egypt offers her as a gift to the king of France! But how to get her there? Why, she sails up the Nile by felucca, crosses the sea by brigantine, and, yes, walks the last five hundred miles to Paris. People love it. And they love her, meeting and greeting her along the way, cheering her on. Afterward, the grateful French king places Zarafa in his own royal garden, where all of Paris comes to visit and love her. Judith St. George (So You Want to Be President?) brings this amazing?but true?journey to life with help from the whimsical art of Britt Spencer.

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About the Author:

Judith St. George has published dozens of successful nonfiction books for children, including the Caldecott Medal-winning So You Want to Be President? and the historical Turning Point series, including You’re On Your Way, Teddy RooseveltStand Tall, Abe Lincoln; and Take the Lead, George Washington. You can visit her online at www.judithstgeorge.com.

From Booklist:

St. George recounts a true story of a giraffe’s journey from infancy to fame in this handsome picture book. In 1824 the viceroy of Egypt, wanting the two countries to be good friends, decided to give the king of France a giraffe, an animal of unimaginable exoticism at the time. The story follows Zarafa as she sailed on a tiny boat down the Nile to Alexandria, boarded a much bigger ship to cross the Mediterranean, and then walked more than 500 miles with her beloved handlers to be presented to the king. Although there isn’t much drama other than charting Zarafa’s moods, which, according to St. George, were almost uniformly cheerful, Zarafa’s sensational impact on the people around her is readily apparent on every page.   Spencer’s winsome artwork, though verging on stereotype at times, is the highlight here, with scenes of cheering and amazed crowds surrounding the placid and magnificent Zarafa. Even if giraffes are ho-hum for some children,  the sheer exuberance caused by the animal’s spectacle at every step of her journey is undeniably infectious. Grades 1-3. --Ian Chipman

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