A lonely servant girl finds solace in song—and unexpected long-necked friends at her window—in an utterly charming tale of kindness rewarded.
Poor Delphine is all alone. She has no family and no friends, and as a servant in Queen Theodora’s palace, her life is full of work. Fortunately, Delphine loves to sing, and if her spirits are down, songs bring her comfort and cheer. When young Princess Beatrice comes to live at the palace, Delphine is excited at first, but the unkind princess only makes Delphine’s life more miserable. Then, one night, as Delphine sings out her sorrows, she draws the attention of a dozen giraffes! Delphine is delighted to have friends, but joining them on an outdoor adventure leads her to accidentally cross the princess, and Delphine’s situation in the palace goes from bad to worse. Will singing be enough to help her now?
Kraegel creates a satisfying, original story and tells it with quiet grace. Throughout the narrative, the characters draw strength from music, from nature, and from the kindness of others, elements of the story that will resonate with adults as well as children. The text works beautifully with the watercolor-and-ink artwork, which includes elements drawn with great simplicity and set against the richly textured backdrop of the savanna. Watercolors are applied with finesse. A quiet yet magical picture book that is just right for reading aloud. —Booklist (starred review)
Text and watercolor and ink illustrations combine wonderfully in this story… The giraffes are full of personality, and children will enjoy hunting for them and their companions, from the stunning endpapers done in black ink strokes and dots to the pages within. … Don’t miss this story of the power of music to bring joy and comfort even in trying times —School Library Journal
Kraegel creates minutely inked watercolor elements—trees, grasslands—as backdrops for simply contoured humans with brown skin, naturally textured hair and bright clothing. As Delphine and Beatrice ride off atop two giraffes, readers of this quiet story will savor their new friendship. —Kirkus Reviews
Young readers ages 5-9 will thrill as Delphine rides atop a smiling giraffe across the moonlit savanna—and gasp along with her when the animals return her at dawn to the wrong window. At the end of this enchanting book we are left with our hearts and horizons expanded, as Chesterton would have hoped. —The Wall Street Journal
This picture book would make a good read-aloud with opportunities to act out the story or retell it with personal interpretations. —School Library Connection