Yours Sincerely, Giraffe by Megumi Iwasa Review

illustrated by Jun Takabatake

Yours Sincerely

When I was in primary school, a long time ago, we were encouraged to sit down with a pencil and sheet of paper and write a letter to a child from another school somewhere in the UK (for any younger readers, we didn’t have email, Facebook or, Twitter or any other social media – and we survived without having to be constantly tapping away on a phone screen). We had to converse with our new pen pal by snail mail. Our teacher would post off the letters and we would receive a new one back (these days kids would probably have digital pen pals). This was in part to make new friends, but also to practice our language & communication skills, handwriting and letter writing skills, to learn more about other people and to help with social & emotional learning – building empathy, curiosity, and respect. Now with digital pen pals it can also be used to develop more understanding about the world and other cultures much more quickly and easily. Whilst having a pen pal as I knew it is probably not such a big thing in the world today, with text messages, email and social media at the touch of our fingertips, it still does exist and is a very good way to make new friends (just remember to practice safe writing, especially when online). That all brings us to a book about letter writing and pen pals – Yours Sincerely, Giraffe. Yours Sincerely, Giraffe by Megumi Iwasa is a children’s book about friendships and pen pals, a delightful and charming story about a bored giraffe who is looking for a friend.

Giraffe spends his days wandering home in the beautiful sun-baked African savanna. The beautiful land provides him with plenty of food and he spends his days eating leaves from the highest trees. Whilst he is well fed and has plenty of room to roam, he is terribly bored. His days are very tedious doing the same thing day after day with no change in his routine and no one to talk to. The repetition of his daily routine is starting is get to him, he really wants a friend.

The African savanna is a really big place, home to lots of other animals including Pelican. Pelican is also bored and being a bit of an entrepreneur, he is in the process of setting up a new business: Pelican Post. The brand-new Pelican Post is offering mail deliveries, not just around the savanna but to anywhere in the world!

Giraffe spots Pelican’s advertising sign offering the delivery service and it is a big change in his humdrum world. He starts pondering what other animals there are over the horizon, in faraway places that he has never visited. He decides that he will write a letter to find out.

The following morning, Giraffe composes his letter to an unknown animal. He goes off and seeks out bored Pelican requesting his services to deliver his letter to the first animal he sees over the horizon. Pelican’s fledgling business needs customers and he readily agrees, overjoyed that his new business has its very first customer, after all the horizon isn’t too far away, is it? Pelican soon discovers that the horizon is a lot farther away than Giraffe or Pelican realised and it takes an age to get there. The letter eventually finds its way over the horizon and with the help of mail carrier Seal ends up in the hands of Penguin.

Penguin, now in receipt of a letter from someone new is absolutely delighted and writes back. It is the start of a blossoming friendship with Giraffe and Penguin. Writing to each other is relieving their boredom, but it is a pen pal friendship full of misunderstandings.

With Giraffe never seeing a penguin before, and vice versa, curiosity builds. The two animals live in completely different climates – Giraffe lives on the hot African savanna plains and Penguin living in an icy, cold world. Through their regular exchange of letters, Giraffe tries to deduce what Penguin looks like by asking lots of questions and trying to build a picture of Penguin in his own mind, with the ultimate aim of dressing like him and going to pay him a surprise visit. As Giraffe hasn’t any idea of what a penguin looks or anything to base it on, inevitability there is a misunderstanding, and it doesn’t quite go as planned.

Overall, Yours Sincerely, Giraffe by Megumi Iwasa is a charming and delightful illustrated story written in the form of a collection of letters between Giraffe and Penguin that will have children smiling whilst reading it. It is a simplistic story about friendship, curiosity, discovery and misunderstanding, but a charming and endearing one.

The story is about building new friendships, how important good communication is, the importance of good writing and how the readers interpretation of the written word can lead to very innocent misunderstandings and misconceptions.

Your Sincerely, Giraffe is a fun and interesting story where we have a lonely Giraffe building a new friendship and trying dress like an animal he has never seen before. How can you dress like something you have never seen from a very basic description in a written letter? It also sees a curious Penguin asking questions like “What is a neck?” and “Why doesn’t he have one?” to try and build an image in his mind of what Giraffe could possibly look like and the differences between them.

The entertaining story told in Yours Sincerely, Giraffe teaches young readers concepts such as it doesn’t matter what shape or size you are, what colour you are, and that despite any differences you can still get along just fine with someone from a different country or culture and be the very best of friends.

The book has also been beautifully illustrated with some very simple line drawings by Jun Takabatake and they really help to bring the bring the best out of the story.

Yours Sincerely, Giraffe is an excellent story about friendships, hard work, misunderstandings and taking the time to learn about others and appreciating differences. It is a book that will leave a smile on your face and warmth in your heart.

Rating: 5/5

RRP: £6.99 (Paperback / Kindle)

Available to buy from Amazon here.

DISCLOSURE: All thoughts and opinions are our own. This review uses an affiliate link which we may receive a small commission from if you purchase through the link.


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