Reviewed by David Savage
Giraffe lives on the African savanna. He spends his days wandering the sun filled African plains and eating leaves, but he is bored! He really needs a friend. When he sees a sign offering deliveries anywhere by a bored pelican he wonders what animals are over the horizon and decides to write a letter and find out.
After a good night’s sleep, he writes his letter and instructs Pelican to deliver it over the horizon and give to the first animal he sees. So Pelican takes flight on his trip for his very first customer.
Giraffe’s letter is delivered to Seal, another mail carrier, who in turn delivers it to Penguin. Soon letters are exchanged backwards and forwards between the two. This sets of a series of new unlikely friendships and nobody is no longer bored.
Overall, this is a charming and delightful story. Humorous in a strange way (not laugh out loud funny, but does put a smile on your face), although Giraffe trying to dress like a penguin purely using what has been described to him and his imagination taking over is hilarious. With questions like what is a neck and why doesn’t a penguin have one? it is sure to create interesting questions from its young readers. I was reading it to 4 year old twins and it led to them talking about what a penguin looks like.
It explores how important communication and imagination are but also how the written word can be entirely different from the reality and cause misunderstandings. It also expresses the importance of hard work. Without the hard work of the Pelican and the Seal, Giraffe and Penguin would never have learned more about each other.
Apart from a great story it has been Illustrated with simple line drawings and the letters between the pen pals, illustrated by Jun Takabatake.
A perfect story of pen pals (a concept that is probably lost in today’s modern world of social media), friendships, hard work, misunderstandings and taking the time to learn about others.
RRP: £6.99 (paperback)
Available to buy from Amazon here.