Book Review: Antoinette and the Story of the Invisible Giraffes
Reviewed by Toni Woodruff
An adventurous tale about the magic of the natural world
Strap on your seatbelts. Keep an eye out of your jeep. Antoinette is taking you on a safari adventure. From her Scottish boarding school all the way to Tanzania, Antoinette and her parents take you on quite a ride in this children’s story of moving and encountering natural wonder.
This book features a young girl unafraid to move to a new place. In fact, she’s kind of thrilled about it—with one BIG thing on her mind. Giraffes! Her favorite animal is huge, and she can’t wait for the splendor of their long necks and giant legs. Lucky for her, she and her parents head out on a safari and see a number of animals she has never seen before, like wildebeests, lions, hyenas, and yellow baboons.
However, she isn’t finding any giraffes on the safari. She’s got a lot to see, but she can’t hold in her disappointment for not yet seeing any of her favorite majestic animal.
But this disappointment turns out to be in vain—as the giraffes have been there nearly the whole time! They were just blending in with the trees. When Antoinette finally sees her beloved giraffes, her whole interaction with them feels almost mystical—how special it is to meet these beautiful giants, how unreal but real it all feels.
I love the way this book shows young readers that animals can provide real-life magical experiences. We have no control over these creatures, whether they bend down to kiss us or disappear altogether, as if they were never there, so we must appreciate them while they’re with us.
The illustrations on the right page pair well with the smooth and natural rhymes on the left page. It’s too easy to encounter children’s books with clunky rhymes, but you won’t find any of them here. Even the word choice contains a certain magic, like “a dazzle of zebras seem[ing] to dance in the distance.”
This is a sweet little adventure story about encountering incredible animals. I do wish we could have delved a bit deeper into Antoinette’s behavior though. She’s so excited about seeing giraffes that she’s losing patience despite having the opportunity to see a number of other great animals. If she could have learned her lesson in the end, that she should appreciate what she’s seeing now, then I would be sending this book to all the parents I know.
Fun news: Antoinette and the Story of the Invisible Giraffes is only one story in a series of them. The author, Alison McGregor, often tells stories to her children about their Granny Antoinette who lived all over the world, meaning there’s more books where this one came from—with new adventures. I love the aspect of following a passionate girl in different places in the world, like Tanzania, and if this book is any indication, then there’s plenty of enjoyment and learning to be had by all in the books to come.
Genre: Children’s Picture Book / Animals
Print Length: 28 pages
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