Oh Dear, Geoffrey!: Children’s book review

cover art of the children's book by Gemma O'Neill

Silver Spring, Md, June 30, 2014 – Geoffrey is a giraffe, and he is clumsy. Like all giraffes, he is tall and has a long neck, but his wobbly legs cause him to trip and fall.

Geoffrey tries to be a friendly to the other animals, but when he bends down to talk to the meerkats his clumsiness takes over. He slips and slides and scares the meerkats away. Next, he tries to talk to the elephants, but he stumbles and gets tangled in their trunks. Geoffrey tries at the watering hole, but the falls into the water, sending everyone scattering.

Cold and muddy, Geoffrey is upset by his clumsiness and heads to his favorite tree for a tasty snack. On the way a family of monkeys starts climbing his legs. They ask for his help getting to the top of the tree. He helps them up, and they ask to be his friend. Then a flock of little birds high in the tree tops say they, too, would like a tall friend. With his new friends all around, Geoffrey looks above the tree canopy and see the stars for the first time. It is then he realizes that being tall and having such a funny long neck and legs is not so bad after all.

The story is something many children can relate to: finding it hard to fit it. Whether they feel clumsy like Geoffrey, or just feel like they do not “fit in,” this book demonstrates that everyone can make friends and sometimes you find unexpected things once you have accepted yourself for who you are. The fun pictures will easily capture children’s attention, and the story and concise narration will easily keep it.

Oh Dear, Geoffrey! is author and illustrator Gemma O’Neill debut picture book. She is a Falmouth Illustration graduate. The artwork in Oh Dear, Geoffrey! is spectacular. O’Neill uses bright colors in her watercolor illustrations, and she has painted Geoffrey in such whimsical manner that he really seems like he could be your clumsy but lovable friend.

Her work in Oh Dear, Geoffrey has earned a nomination for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal, and has been shortlisted for both the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards and the Dundee Picture Book Award 2014.

Oh Dear, Geoffrey! (978-07636-6659-0) by Gemma O’Neill was published on May 13, 2014 by Candlewick Press. It is available as a hardcover.

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