Giraffe Problems by Jory John

Published: 25th September 2018Goodreads badge
Random House Books
Illustrator: Lane Smith
Pages: 42
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Can you guess what’s making this giraffe self-conscious? Could it be…HIS ENORMOUS NECK Yes, it’s exactly that–how on earth did you figure it out?

Edward the giraffe can’t understand why his neck is as long and bendy and, well, ridiculous as it is. No other animal has a neck this absurd. He’s tried disguising it, dressing it up, strategically hiding it behind bushes–honestly, anything you can think of, he’s tried.

Jory John is back with another fabulous book. Giraffe Problems is a brilliant book that much like Penguin Problems, has a giraffe who is unhappy with his absurdly long neck. This seems to be his only problem, but John explores this singular issue with humour and style.

The narrative is hilarious. The short sentences and the quick words sound just like the complaints of the key character, all beautifully presented in and around Smith’s illustrations. There are no rhymes, but you don’t need them as John writes a great story that reads like a funny list of complaints and grievances by Edward and the annoyance as he interacts with those around him.

There are more words to the story as it goes on and you see how this poor giraffe has tried to cope with his long, long, super necky neck. There are beautiful moments too and I loved the interactions with all the various animals he comes across.

Smith’s illustrations deserve attention on their own. The dark earthy colours on the page bring out the feeling of nature and the expressions and actions on the animals are realistic but have a comical tone as well. The design of each page enhances the story because it makes you move your eyes around to follow the words, or rotate the book or open a flap. It adds another level of interaction beyond only reading the words on the page.

I loved the surprises at the end, sweet but still having that humour seen throughout. It is a wonderful example of understanding the benefits to being different and what may be a problem for you, may be a solution to someone else. I love Penguin Problems and I am a huge fan of Giraffe Problems as well. I am looking forward to seeing what other ideas John comes up with because I’m sure it will just as delightful.

You can purchase Giraffe Problems via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust

Penguin Problems by Jory John

Published: 27th September 2016Goodreads badge
 Random House Books for Young Readers
Illustrator: Lane Smith
Pages: 32
Format: Hardcover Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars


Oh, you’re going to read this book? Somehow I seriously doubt that. I bet you won’t even finish reading this flap. 

Don’t worry about it. Why would you want to learn about some penguin’s problems when you have plenty of problems of your own? Just look around. The world’s a mess!

Besides, you probably don’t even like penguins. Heck, I barely like penguins and I am a penguin.

Seriously, I’ll understand if you put the book back on the shelf. Go ahead. It’s for the best. 

I’m sure you’d just get a bunch of paper cuts, anyway. And you’d probably bend the pages. And you’d get your little fingerprints everywhere.

When was the last time you washed those grubby hands of yours? No offense.


Listen: I’m going back to bed. Read, don’t read. Buy, don’t buy. Whatever. 

Just try not to wake me up. 

I’m a light sleeper. 

And I have a lot on my mind.

The first cute thing about this book is the front cover. The second cute thing is the little blurb on the inside of the cover. I was in love with this book before I’d even gotten to the title page to find out what it was even called. The book is in fact called Penguin Problems and it is fantastic! I fell deeper in love with Smith’s beautiful little illustrations, they are simple and yet convey so much at the same time. I felt the hardships of this little penguin and I loved him for that.

The little penguin complains about the cold, about how his beak is cold and it gets dark. He has problems like orca and leopard seals and he doesn’t know who his mum and dad are. I adored this little penguin who complained so much. It is a funny book that make me laugh multiple times. The words are simple but they tell a story and the illustrations make the experience even more fulfilling,

The illustrations are a combination of single images and large full page ones. Smith balances these out wonderfully to match the needs of the story. The single image of a penguin lying on his back on a small mound of snow is the perfect representation for the start of the book.

Another thing I loved about this book is that it doesn’t go where you expect it to. I wasn’t expecting to read about a penguin who hated the cold, and as I read on there were more surprises and by the end even when you think you know where it’s going, you don’t. I loved that in this picture book that has so few words and so few pages that this great little journey could be gone on so successfully and with such wonderful humour and cuteness.

You can purchase Penguin Problems via the following

Booktopia | Book Depository

Amazon | Amazon Aust | Wordery

Angus & Robertson | Dymocks

Fishpond | QBD

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