The Girl Who Loved Giraffes and became the world's first giraffologist

Illustrated by François Thisdale
Published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside

A picture book biography about Anne Innis Dagg, a pioneer in the study of animal behaviour in the wild and the world's leading expert on giraffes for decades.

Cover of Anne Dagg picture book by Kathy Stinson | The Girl Who Loved Giraffes

Age Level

6 and up

Curriculum Connections

STEM, women in science, biography, giraffes, mammals, animal conservation


For teachers --

Discuss the questions below with your students. Help them find answers if they need it.

For kids --

What do you want to do or be when you grow up? Why?

What is the most surprising thing you learned about giraffes in this book?

Is everyone in your school treated fairly when it comes to opportunities? If the answer is no, what do you think can be done to correct the situation?

What is your favourite animal? Is it in danger of extinction? What can you do to help save it?

Watch the video of the launch of the book to hear the secret meaning behind the numbers on the zoo ticket on page 8. Study the details the illustrator has added faintly in other places. How do you think they enhance the story the illustrations are helping to tell?


... uses a rich method of storytelling and seamlessly embeds non-fiction elements throughout

the CCBC Norma Fleck Award jury

Compelling narrative... inspiring biography... stunning illustrations

CCBC Online

... captures the dramatic story of Anne's life, the majestic beauty of giraffes and fascinating facts about this most intriguing and magnificent creature... an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book biography collections.

Midwest Book Review

The text is spare and straightforward and each double-page spread features a footnote with further and explained facts and definitions... Thisdales's exquisite and detailed illustrations are so clear they almost seem like photographs.

Kirkus Review

The Girl Who Loved Giraffes is a book that will capture the delight of people of all ages. The format of the book is ingenious and grounds the imagined retelling with the realities of science and the life of giraffes. ...lustrous and beautiful illustrations -- The indigo blue of the early night African sky sets the tonal spirituality of the land. Our imaginations are set aloft as we travel through Anne’s life.

Guelph Today

...beautifully illustrated... fast-paced story... Throughout the book, Anne’s curiosity, determination, courage and sense of purpose will leave the reader with admiration and a conviction that anything is possible, with visionaries like Anne to thank for the advancement of both women’s rights, and conservation. This timely biography is a good one to add to books that focus on the precarious state of some of the world’s wildlife and habitats... Highly recommended.

CM Magazine

A gem of a book that captures the dramatic story of Anne's life, the majestic beauty of giraffes, and fascinating facts about this most intriguing and magnificent creature

49th Shelf


Shortlisted for the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children's Non-Fiction