Friday, August 23, 2013

Book review: Chee-Lin: A Giraffe's Journey by James Rumford

This is the tale of Tweega (Swahili for "giraffe") and his journey from his home in Africa, captured and taken across the continents, ending finally in Peking more than 20 years later.  Along the way, Tweega meets different people and experiences new things.

What is unique and wonderful about this book is not the plot as it is, but the beautiful lyrical language and gorgeous illustrations.  This book really was a treat to read aloud and look at with my kids.  It is quite long for a picture book, and is best probably broken up over several days or more.  Each 2-page spread really serves as a chapter or section, and can be broken up that way.

The first pages tell of what a chee-lin is (mythological horned beast) and an omen of good fortune to the Chinese.

If you read this, notice at the back the nice map of the world highlighting Tweega's travels.  I wish I had noted this first so we could have referenced it during the story.

This book is definitely a 5-star read, not to be missed.

Side note:  We read this as a recommendation/extra reading living book in our science curriculum for my 1st and 3rd grade kids.  We are using Sassafras Science Adventures:  Zoology with them right now, which is also a "living book" rather than a textbook as we follow twin children in discovery of animals around the world.  Chee-Lin was recommended in the giraffe section, and I'm so glad we didn't miss this one.  :)

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