Fred Rogers first sketched out the idea for this story in 1950. Josephine is a giraffe with a short neck who is desperate for her neck to grow so she will look like her parents and other giraffes. In 1989, Fred produced the story as an opera for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. It is his longest opera, spanning three days of the Neighborhood week. In this clip, Josephine and her elephant friend, Hazel, are excited to start school. Josephine is hoping that the school will help her achieve her dream of having a long neck.
Her mother and friend point out that she is much more than her neck and she is special just because she is Josephine. She does not need a long neck in order to be loved. This opera is a great example of Fred’s philosophy that everyone is special and fancy, no matter what they look like on the outside.