Josephine the Short Necked Giraffe


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.

Fred Rogers Productions

Related Items

Thoughts 1356-1360

The series of "Thoughts for the Week" offers us insight into Fred Rogers' goals with each week of programs he produced. During this week, Mister Rogers talks about moving quickly versus moving slowly. He points out that people with the same name are still different people.

Read more


Mister Rogers would sometimes play with masks on Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. He said that sometimes, when you're uncomfortable or shy, you might feel like putting on a mask. In this photo, Fred is sitting in his office at WQED.

Read more

Everybody Has a History

Mister Rogers first sang this song in 1972 in an episode when he talked about history in general—and then his own history. This song might be particularly helpful for children who are dealing with a new baby in the family, or for children who are feeling like they are not big enough or old enough to do certain things.

Read more

Contact the Archivist

The Fred Rogers Institute Archivist is available for requests and inquiries from students and researchers.