Giraffe v. Balloon: NECK & NECK

Cindy: I didn’t even have to open this book before I started laughing. The cover art will catch the eyes of young readers and let them know there is some humorous, I mean serious competition in store. Neck & Neck (2018) by Elise Parsley features Leopold, everyone’s favorite animal at the zoo—that is, until a little boy announces that his giraffe balloon is “just like the real thing, only better.” What? Leopold is not going to let that stand. The competition is on, illustrated by a series of funny scenes where Leopold compares himself to his new nemesis. A last-ditch, vengeful act sets the stage for Leopold’s further misery, followed by a chance for redemption: To save, or not to save? That is the question. Teachers looking for empathy themes will do well with this fun tale.

 

Lynn: This tall tale will catch young readers’ eyes right away! Taking full advantage of the book’s tall format, Parsley’s bright, cartoon-style illustrations stretch the fun from top to bottom and cover to cover. The perspectives are a delight, many utilizing a giraffe-high view as Leopold takes on the bouncy challenger. Other pages are scattered with laugh-out loud vignettes packed with funny details. Read this once with kids and they will return to it again and again, savoring the silliness.

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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