Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Giraffe That Walked to Paris

This week, we rowed The Giraffe That Walked to Paris by Nancy Milton in our FIAR study.  At one time, it was out of print, but thanks to a fabulous company that I love, love, love (Purple House Press,, many once loved books can be loved again by a whole new generation!  Amazon's synopsis of this book reads, "Here is the beguiling true story of the first giraffe ever to live in Europe. The year was 1826, and the giraffe belonged to the pasha of Egypt, who decided to give her as a gift to the king of France. The giraffe journeyed first by boat to Marseilles, then on foot through the towns and villages of France, all the way to Paris. Her arrival in the capital was celebrated with a splendid royal parade, and everywhere she went she caused a sensation."  In my opinion, learning that a story is true always makes it a little better.  I will say, though, that there was less we found to do with this row.  It wasn't one of my favorites.
To start our study of this book, we mapped La Giraffe's (that was the name given her) route from Egypt, across the Mediterranean, to Marseilles, and then all the way up to Paris. 
Then, we colored the story disk for this book and placed it with the other story disks in that region.  (They are really piling up!)  (Many people study Egypt when they do this row, but we just did an extensive study of Egypt (see in our history curriculum, so she was already very familiar with it.)
For dinner on the first night of this row, we made the "Skewered Chicken" and "Hummus" out of The Five in a Row Cookbook, page 46, for a Mediterranean meal.
Our hummus turned out delicious, though I wish it was creamier.
And the marinade for the skewered chicken was really good!
Maggie's Mediterranean meal!
Poor thing.  She was so sick that day with a cold, but it helped a little because normally, this food might have been too spicy for her.  It worked out and she said, "It cleared my nose!"
For a math study to go along with this book, we used the idea we saw at, using sidewalk chalk to measure the height of a baby giraffe (11 feet) and an adult female giraffe (16 feet) against ourselves.  First, we measured Maggie on the sidewalk and made marks at the soles of her feet and her head.
Then, we measured the distance between the marks, 48 inches, or 4 feet.
Then, from the 4-foot mark, we added 7 feet to get 11, the height of a baby giraffe.
Here is Maggie, at 4 feet, with the 8-foot and 11-foot marks above her.  The 11-foot mark would show how much taller a baby giraffe (like La Giraffe) would be than her.
 Finally, we measured 16 feet from the bottom to get the height of an adult female giraffe.
Here is Maggie, in comparison with 16 feet, the top mark in the photo.  (We tried to make it more clear by laying the piece of chalk next to the mark.)  This is how tall Maggie would be against an adult female giraffe!  A difference of 12 feet!  Cool! 
 The last thing we did with this book was to learn a little bit more about giraffes.  We read Giraffes by Jill Anderson ...
... Zarafa: The Giraffe Who Walked to the King by Judith St. George (This is another version of this same story about La Giraffe, though they gave her the name "Zarafa."  Interesting!) ... 
 ... and Chee-Lin: A Giraffe's Journey by James Rumford about another voyage by a giraffe.
 Finally, we made the paper giraffe we found at  (Here is the picture of the free printable from that site.)

Here is Maggie's La Giraffe, colored and assembled!
She had the idea to put on a little cape from another toy of hers, to serve as La Giraffe's raincoat, like in the book.
 This week, we will finish up our time in Paris with the reading of Babar: To Duet or Not to Duet (story by Elaine Waisglass, based on characters created by Jean and Laurent de Brunhoff).  See you then!


  1. I've always loved giraffes. Our zoo where we live allows you to feed them crackers, and if you are lucky, you can reach out and pet them when they come to take the food. My husband always knows he's going to have to buy me plenty of crackers when we go! :-)

    I love Maggie's little paper giraffe!!

    1. How fun! We will be in Columbia, SC next week and will be checking out the zoo there. I think they have a giraffe feeding station. Elephants have always been my favorite, and funny thing ... we start Babar today! :)