Anne and Her Tower of Giraffes by Karlin Gray, illustrated by Aparna Varma


Anne and Her Tower of Giraffes: The Adventurous Life of the First Giraffologist by Karlin Gray, illustrated by Aparna Varma. Kids Can Press, 2022. 9781525304958

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre:  Biography 

Format: Hardcover picture book

What did you like about the book? As a young girl, Anne was fascinated by the giraffes when she visited the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. Upon her return to Toronto, she dove into books to find out more about these amazing creatures. Much to her chagrin, there was very little written about them, so she decided she would write a book featuring giraffes when she grew older. After scarlet fever landed her in the hospital, the unthinkable happened, almost all of her stuffed giraffe collection needed to be destroyed to prevent the spread of germs! Luckily a few of her treasured friends who were able to be scrubbed clean escaped with her. Eventually, as Anne entered college, she decided to study zoology, feeling that surely she would learn about giraffes there. Again, she was terribly disappointed. She took the matter into her own hands, and traveled to Africa in the summer of 1956 to view giraffes in the wild. Each day she went “giraffing” and carefully recorded her notes and observations. After her year-long stint was up, Anne returned to the United States, and vied for a professorship. Like many times before, she was laughed at for her interest in giraffes, and denied the position because she was a woman in a field dominated by men. She returned to her childhood dream of writing, and write she did, penning more than twenty books! Her story inspired a movie called The Woman Who Loves Giraffes: The Story of Anne Innis Dagg. This inspiring story speaks to the importance of having a dream and sticking to it, despite the odds being stacked against success. The colored pencil, Photoshop illustrations hearken back to Anne’s childhood and the natural backdrops of her explorations. Young readers will be delighted to learn more about this determined scientist and naturalist by reading the interview with Dr. Innes Dagg included in the end pages.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No

To whom would you recommend this book?  Readers who enjoy learning about nature and animals will love to hear Dr. Anne Innis Dagg’s story. It will be especially inspiring for young girls who are interested in science to see themselves in her journey.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries, elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it?   JBIO Dagg

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State:  Linda Broderick, Lincoln Street Elementary School, Northboro, MA

Date of review:   November 19, 2022

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