I was researching jungle and rainforest themed books for kids and I stumbled across NUMEROUS books that had a giraffe stuck in them, and I instantly furrowed my brow.
Giraffes don't live in the jungle!
Monkeys? Yes! Tigers? Yes! Bears, snakes, frogs, elephants, even chickens? YES!!!
But not giraffes, and if you've never thought about it, here's why:
Giraffes are designed/have adapted to be able to feed high up on the leaves of the acacia tree because on the GRASSLANDS there's not a lot of green stuff to go around, but no other grazer on the plains is crazy enough to put up with a neck like that. And a giraffes spots camouflaged it with the arid colors of the savannah, not the jungle. Plus, the only other perk of being a giraffe is that they can haul tail with those stilts they walk on... how fast do you think anything that size could run or try to in a dense jungle?
So all these incredible, unique and educational adaptations the giraffe has and what do these kid's authors/illustrators do? They cast him in a jungle! Talk about Duck outta water!
The more reasonable side of my brain is trying to concede that: Look, Regan, sure you don't find giraffes in real life actual jungles, but this is a children's book. Let little Molly have her cutsey, wootsey lil giraffe.
Well, tough noogies, Molly!
I'll take giraffes in a zoo, or on Noah's ark, or in some fantastical situation like a waiter at a sidewalk cafe, but DON'T tell unsuspecting kids that giraffes are from the jungle.
I feel a little better.
...say, this would be a fun story on it's own, the Misplaced Giraffe or How a Children's Author Thrwarted God and Natural Selection by Regan Johnson. :)