I like to approach each book with a unique way of handling a picture book. For this book about a theatrical family of giraffes, my tribute to the theater, I created it as one complete theater performance. The book begins outside the theater, then you get a playbill to tell you about the cast of the characters, next there is a visit to the dressing room backstage and before long the show begins. The action moves from behind the scenes to the audience’s point of view. Finally, we see the giraffe family leaving from the stage door.
When I was a very small boy, I made my stage debut as one of the three kings in the school Christmas pageant. Before I went on, I asked my mother what they called what I was doing. She replied that it was called “make believe”. I was determined to spend the rest of my life making believe!
This book is for all of those readers who have been bitten by the stage bug and also for the ones who just like a good show!
Kirsch’s bubbly, exuberant artwork recalls that of illustrators like Ungerer and Steig, but his sweetly loopy, stagestruck family of giraffes is all his own. Youngest son Rufus Chandelier isn’t old enough to perform, but he comes into his own one memorable night when he saves his family from a string of theatrical disasters. Kirsch (Forsythia & Me) offers something for everyone: costume-lovers will admire Rufus’s Eton suit and his Granny’s Marie Antoinette ball gown. Fans of wild contraptions will appreciate the family’s five-wheeled, seven-seater bicycle. And old stagehands will smile when Rufus uses a topiary bush to walk a parasol over to his mother. It’s a delightful turn on the theme of the quiet child who becomes a hero, and certain to be summoned for many encores. ~ PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
Meet the Chandeliers—Maximillian, his wife Daphne, their two children Galahad and Daffodil, Granny, and Grandaddy—a team of giraffe performers appearing nightly in the greatest show in town. Backstage the team primps in the dressing room’s custom designed long-necked lighted mirrors in preparation for their unique routines. Tag-a-long Rufus, the youngest Chandelier, stands off to the side during the make-up session longing to be old enough to perform. He may be “upstaged,” but in reality he is the right-hand man and the one to trust to make things right. His presence is significant in an assortment of roles including stagehand, prompter, drummer, conductor, light man (turns on the house lights after theater darkens), peddler of a 7-seater bike, and tuba player. A performance is never without its perils and on this night an unwelcome monster shadow appears on the scene. Again Rufus saves the show, winning his way onto the cast list. Accolades to the illustrator for charming costumes, creative giraffe topiaries, and a mini giraffe that finds a spot in every scene. ~ CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
Kirsch applies his ornate flourishes to a troupe of giraffes in this tale of theatrical entrances and exits. Each member of the world-renowned Chandelier family is featured in a pre–title-page cameo during which their extensive experience is highlighted–except for young Rufus. There are humorous visual details in the bustling watercolor-and-line compositions, and children will enjoy searching for the tiny mouse wearing a giraffe costume in every scene. ~ KIRKUS