The Concrete Giraffe


63 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-88924-140-6






Illustrations by Doug Sneyd
Reviewed by Mark Bastien

Mark Bastien was a Toronto-based journalist.


The Concrete Giraffe is a bright and bouncy collection of poems about Toronto for children. Lola Sneyd takes the reader on a poetic tour of Canada’s largest city, stopping at all the places children enjoy. It’s a silly-funny trip that kids will remember after the ride is over.

The giraffe of the title is the CN Tower, which gives you an idea of Sneyd’s wonky but apt sense of fun. Toronto’s City Hall is “The Mushroom in the Clam,” and a subway train is a “one-eyed monster electric eel.” The author takes side trips to the Eaton Centre, Casa Loma, Ontario Science Centre, and multi-ethnic Kensington Market, which is a “mouth-watering international smorgasbord.”

Sneyd captures the sights, smells, and sounds of the city in this colourful posy of a book. She has a real sense of the way children think and what they enjoy. Even in her silliest poems, such as “Slug Slug,” Sneyd is never condescending or patronizing. Her wide-eyed wonder at the world transforms the mundane into the delightful. A slug is not a slimy, squishy thing but “a jelly bean with the colour sucked off.” Sneyd turns the world upside down, and shakes out fresh images.

The collection is cleverly illustrated by Doug Sneyd, who also collaborated with the author on her first book of children’s poems, The Asphalt Octopus. Together, they have created a tasty Toronto treat for adventurous families — a flavoursome all-day Metro lollipop.


Sneyd, Lola, “The Concrete Giraffe,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed September 23, 2023,