Plot Roller Coaster

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One good, cute example that fits well is one of my favorite children’s books, Giraffes Can’t Dance, by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees, which we read in class.

Here is how Giraffes Can’t Dance fits into each of the examples above. (Warning: This summary contains spoilers. Don’t read on if you want to find out yourself whether Gerald the Giraffe learns to dance by the end of the story!)

Main character – Gerald the Giraffe
Setting – Jungle
Situation the main character is used to – being clumsy and awkward. Gerald can barely walk without tripping! He certainly can’t dance, right?
Inciting incident – The Jungle Dance. Gerald is going to have to leave his comfort zone of “standing still and munching shoots off trees.”

Rising Action: 
All the other animals are great dancers. One by one we see that they each have a cool dance they can do at the Jungle Dance. Pretty soon it’s going to be Gerald’s turn. Uh oh!

Gerald tries to dance but the lions “saw him coming and they soon began to roar.” Gerald gets laughed at, bullied, and called weird. Then, saddest of all, he has to walk home alone while all the other jungle animals do a conga line without him. So, so sad!

Falling action:
A cricket who’s been watching him shows him that he actually can dance. He just needs his own music. And once he starts breaking it down in that jungle clearing, all the animals who laughed at him earlier show up and start cheering him on.

Gerald finishes with a bow and teaches the other animals (and us) an important lesson.