A Giraffe Goes To Paris


Atir has a very important job. It is 1826, and Muhammad Ali, the pasha of Egypt, wants to give the King of France a very special present. Her name is Belle and she is a giraffe. Their journey begins on an Italian ship and continues 500 miles on foot from Marseilles to Paris. Atir tells us about the journey and their life in Paris.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

This first-person story offers kids a front-line perspective of a piece of history they aren't likely to have heard about. Plenty of white space and a great balance of text and illustration make this a wonderful choice for developing readers, too.

Content Awareness Factors:

I wish there was a kid-friendly page (in the context/format of the rest of the book) that gave more of the history and where the authors found the information.

Young Reader Reaction

Even before she knew this was a true story, my daughter liked this book. When she found out it was part of history, she found it even more impressive. She liked the giraffe facts and also how the giraffe was treated in Paris.

Parent Reaction

What a great piece of history. The story has lots of wonderful detail without being overpowering. The illustrations draw on the text, but not in the usual ways, which is refreshing. What probably makes this a 4th grade reading level is the French vocabulary. Otherwise, this is a book well-suited for second and third grade readers.

Type of Book:
This is a picture-book history of a true story.
Educational Themes:

Geography and history are the first themes that pop out, but you can also talk about culture, 19th century transportation, animal husbandry, and French and Egyptian culture, too. This would be a perfect choice in talking about how authors create nonfiction and historical fiction, as well as a launching point for studying this piece of history.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
9 to 12
Recommended Age To Read Together:
6 to 9
Age of child:
Read by a 9-year-old girl.
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow. This is a wonderful story to share. It is one that you can easily read once and then go back and explore some more.

Title A Giraffe Goes to Paris
Author Mary Tavener Holmes, John Harris
Publisher Two Lions © 2010
Illustrators Jon Cannell
ISBN 9780761455950
Material Hard Cover
Cost $17.99
Genres Biography, History
Reminder: Cover images, amazon.com and indiebound.org links are affiliate links. The Reading Tub can earn income via purchases made via these links. 100% of any income goes directly to our literacy mission.
Other Reviews:

You May Also Like...

Check out these books you may also like


Sharon Robinson
Scholastic Press © 2009


Mordicai Gerstein
Roaring Brook Press, Imprint Macmillan Children's Publishing Group © 2009


Will Hillenbrand
Philomel Books, Imprint Penguin Young Readers Group © 2009