Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Adventures of Graham and Grady and Their Rock-n-Roll Band:

The Adventures of Graham and Grady and Their Rock-n-Roll Band:
The Making of a Band

With his psychedelic coloring and natural Mohawk, Graham was born to be a rockstar. From his early days as a young calf, Graham practiced drumming on tree trunks and bark and strumming on tree leaves. He even discovered he could make the tall Savannah grasses whistle like a flute or a horn.  Everywhere he went, Graham practiced his musicianship. He strummed and thumped and bee-bopped. Eventually, Graham took up playing the bass guitar, and he knew his dreams of being a rockstar were close at hand.

But there was one musical thing Graham could not do. Graham could not sing. He tried everything. He tried singing with the radio. He tried singing with the birds. He even tried gargling with salt water. No matter what, when he tried to sing, his voice just wobbled and warbled like a dented trumpet!

When nothing worked, he thought he might just lip sync. Then he remembered Milli Vanilli—everybody knows what happened to their career. What was he going to do? He knew all the way to his horns that he was supposed to be in a band. He felt defeated.

That night, Graham went to bed feeling sad. He really, really wanted to be a rockstar. He fell asleep with visions of rainbow colored concerts swimming in his head.

Graham slept all night. He woke the next morning to the most beautiful sound. He bounced out of bed and followed the sound down the hall. It was coming from the bathroom. He stopped at the closed door and listened intently. His brother, Grady, was singing in the shower and it was glorious.   

Graham paced in front of the bathroom door, impatiently waiting for Grady to emerge. When Grady opened the door, Graham grabbed him by the shoulders, shaking him. “You can sing!” he exclaimed jubilantly. “You can really sing!”

Grady, a very shy giraffe, could see the wheels turning in his brother’s head. “N-n-no I can’t.” he declared. “But you can, Grady.” Graham coaxed “You know that I want to form a band. Help me out.”

But Grady adamantly refused. He was too shy to perform in front of his family and friends. He was too shy to ask a girl out on a date. In fact, he was too shy to raise his hand in class. There was no way he would ever be able to sing—on  stage—under bright lights—with tons of people watching. He felt woozy just thinking about it.

Graham, however, would not be dissuaded easily. For the next week, Graham begged and pleaded with Grady. He tried to bribe and wheedle and threaten Grady. Nothing worked. Then Graham had an idea—if he couldn’t take Grady’s singing out of the shower, then he would bring Grady’s shower on stage.

For the next two days, Graham locked himself in the garage. The whole family could hear Graham knocking and pounding and scraping and sawing. They tried to peek, but Graham wouldn’t let anybody in, and he only left for a very, very short break now and then.

Finally, Graham emerged from the garage. He was dusty and dirty and beaming from ear to ear. “Ta-da” he exclaimed and ushered his family in to see the portable shower.

Grady was still unsure. No, he was quite sure—he could not sing! But he didn’t want to break his brother’s heart. So he quietly agreed to try singing in the portable shower.

Grady’s first attempt at singing in his new shower was pitiful. He could barely muster a whisper. Nevertheless, Grady kept trying. He knew that if he practiced, he would eventually sing as well in the new shower as he had in the old shower.

Practiced and practiced. That’s what the two giraffes did. First they practiced alone, but eventually, they were good enough to practice together. Then they practiced some more.

At last, Graham felt like they were ready. The Fourth of July was just around the corner and Graham had signed them up to play at “Michelle’s Zoo Presents: Music in the Moonlight.”

They were so nervous! They spent the day pacing in the park. They paced so much that they were surrounded by a big dust cloud. They kept telling each other that they had practiced. They could do this. They had nothing to be worried about!

The sun began to set. The Groovin’ Giraffes were the first act. They took one more quick turn around the park, wiped their faces, took a big drink of water, and climbed up on stage. The stage lights dimmed and the spotlights came on.

Suddenly, a huge platform descended from above. Leo the Lion, the giraffes’ best friend was poised on the platform behind a set of drums and with his sticks in hand. “I’ve been practicing” he said with a wink.

The band began their first number. It was a lively, upbeat tune. Leo didn’t miss a beat. In fact, they all sounded AWESOME! Leo knew they had nailed it. Graham knew they had nailed it. Grady knew they had nailed it.

At the end of the song, Grady burst from his shower with a grin and gave a big bow. He confidently abandoned the shower for the rest of the concert. Not to worry, though. The Groovin’ Giraffes always start their first song with Grady IN the shower.

By Karen Penry
 May not be duplicated without express consent from the author

Find Graham the Giraffe on Etsy here
Find Grady the Giraffe on Etsy here
Find Leo the Lion on Etsy here


  1. Michelle..... that is such a funky story, and guess what, my older brother Graham's childhood nickname was Grady! I have to show him!!!!!

  2. I love this story and I think the author simply MUST write children's books! What adorable animals--I especially love the picture of Graham with his guitar!