Megumi Iwasa studied graphic design at Tama Art University in Tokyo, where she also worked. She is the author of a number of popular children's books, and she lives in Tokyo, Japan. Jun Takabatake is one of Japan's best-loved children's book illustrators. His illustrations have been exhibited throughout the world, and he has won many major international awards.
"An extremely bored giraffe becomes curious about what lies on the other side of the horizon and recruits a pelican to be his own personal courier. The pelican, equally bored and eager for new business, offers to travel anywhere and takes Giraffe's letter far across the ocean to Whale Sea. A correspondence begins between Giraffe and a penguin. As the pen pals discover more about what it's like on the other side of the horizon, each also ends up trying to solve the mystery of what the other animal looks like. The resulting letters and antics are humorous as the giraffe and the penguin imagine what life is like on opposite parts of the globe. This Japanese import will charm beginning readers who enjoy a bit of witty humor with their animal adventures. The pen-and-ink illustrations are simple yet have a Quentin Blake feel that rounds out the characters and their quirky behaviors. A highly amusing early chapter book for readers who may also be learning the art of letter writing."--starred, School Library Journal--Journal
"Giraffe should be content; he has plenty to eat and a comfortable home. But he's bored and wonders what lies over the horizon. Upon seeing Pelican's sign for his new delivery service, Giraffe gets the idea to write a letter to someone on the other side. He instructs Pelican to give the letter to the first animal he sees over the horizon, and so Penguin becomes the lucky recipient of Giraffe's note, courtesy of his local messenger seal. Letters go back and forth between Giraffe and Penguin, and Giraffe grows curious about what his correspondent looks like. Hilarity ensues as Giraffe and Pelican, neither of whom has ever seen a penguin, search the missives for clues so they can dress Giraffe to look like Penguin. When at last the pen pals meet, what a surprise awaits! But who cares how they look? Through their letters, a lasting friendship has developed between the animals. The combination of short narrative, dialogue, letters, and humorous penand- ink drawings is a winning one. For children who send or receive few letters, the book's a great introduction to letter writing, although this isn't its main purpose. Its gentle friendship story will leave readers feeling warm and fuzzy, making this early chapter book a great addition to any collection."--starred, Booklist--Journal
"Giraffe, bored and looking for a friend, becomes pen pals with Penguin in this illustrated chapter book. Even though Giraffe has nice weather and plenty to eat in his home in Africa, he is bored because he doesn't have 'an extra special friend.' A notice from an also-bored pelican offering 'to deliver anything anywhere' spurs Giraffe to write a letter introducing himself ('I'm famous for my long neck'), and he asks Pelican to deliver it to the first animal he meets on the 'other side of the horizon.' After a long flight, Pelican sees Seal. Seal delivers the letter to Penguin, since Penguin is 'the only animal . . . who got letters. . . . Most were from his girlfriend.' This original, playful story unfolds with perfect pacing as Giraffe and Penguin start a pen-pal correspondence. (Penguin, not sure what a neck is, writes back: 'I think maybe I don't have a neck. Or maybe I am all neck?') Giraffe and Pelican, reading Penguin's letters describing himself, are just as confused about what Penguin looks like. Hilarious deductive reasoning ensues. Young readers will love the silliness. Older readers (including adults) will relax in this gentle, judgment-free world of curiosity and discovery. Takabatake's fresh, unaffected line illustrations create a seamless collaboration of art and words. This is a rare book: joyful, ingenuous, playfully earnest, but without a whiff of studied cuteness."--starred, Kirkus Reviews--Journal