This is the astonishing true story of Zeraffa, a giraffe who was sent as a gift from Egypt to France in 1826. A young boy, Atir, takes care of Zeraffa on her epic journey and the sailors sing songs as she gazes down at them. In France, Atir leads her through the countryside, and thousands of people marvel at Zeraffa. Paris falls in love with Zeraffa. The King builds her a special house in the Jardin des Plantes. On warm nights, the young princess visits, while Atir whispers stories to Zeraffa of a hot land far away. The amazing story by an award-winning author of a giraffe’ s extraordinary voyage from Africa to Paris.
I grew up on the southernmost tip of Africa close to the sea where the Atlantic meets the Indian Ocean. As a child I loved books and drawing and making up stories. I studied to be an art teacher and I’ve travelled throughout Africa and to the States but also through China, Siberia and Vietnam. Now I live in London – which I love but I think my heart is always a little in Africa so I go back there often.
I used to write novels and won two IBBY Honour books but now I write mostly picture books which are translated into many languages. One story was adapted into a play with a huge almost life-size giraffe.
Jane Ray graduated from Middlesex University in 3D Design. She began her career designing greetings cards, book jackets and posters. Gradually, however, she moved towards children’s book illustration, especially fairy tales, mythology and folktales. Jane’s first picture book for Frances Lincoln was Jinnie Ghost with Berlie Doherty, which was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Award. Her other acclaimed picture books include The King of Capri with Jeanette Winterson, Romeo and Juliet with Michael Rosen, and The Dolls’ House Fairy and Snow White, which she both wrote and illustrated. She lives with her family in North London.