Flora the Flamingo

Flora the Flamingo by Molly Idle

girl and flamingo book cover

BIBLIO: 2013, Chronicle Books LLC, Ages 3 to 7, $16.99.
REVIEWER: Gwen Harter.
FORMAT: Picture Book
ISBN: 978-1-4521-1006-6

Flora and the Flamingo is a charming picturebook created by former DreamWorks animator Molly Idle. It is about a girl, named Flora, trying to copy the graceful flamingo in it’s complicated dance. The flamingo suspects she is doing so and he contorts himself in a way that causes Flora to lose her balance and tumble to the ground when she tries to mimic him. Flora is upset and embarrassed in her clumsiness and she is sad that the flamingo was so mean. Realizing he had made her feel that way the flamingo laments and helps her to her feet. Knowing that all she wanted to do was dance the flamingo shows her his dance and they dance a smooth and complimentary duet together. They finish their dance with a splashy finale and a bow.
There is a the catch. This book has no words, so the plot summary above is just one interpretation of the book. A reader will bring their own experiences to the story with them. Each one will interpret this story differently from their classmates much like any other book but it is especially emphasized in this picturebook because it is all up to the reader’s imagination. This is a great book to use when examining narratives in the classroom. It can also be used for a writing exercises. It allows for a lot of discussion about making friends and special talents.
As an author Idle tells the story solely through pictures. Molly Idle’s style is as unique and distinguishable as it can get. Her layered colored pencil sketches show a lot of dimension and flawless blending . As this book unfolds, like her other illustrated works, the reader is immersed in a whimsy, inviting, and especially in this case, humorous world of fantasy. As challenging as this can be, the Caldecott​ honor winner pulled it off through the use of several common illustration techniques.

More titles in the Series:
Girl and penguin covergirl and peacocks book cover

The Boy and the Book

The Boy and the Book by David Michael Slater, illustrated by Bob Kolar

Book Cover

BIBLIO: Watertown: Charlesbridge Publishing Inc, 2015. Ages 3 to 7, $16.95.
REVIEWER: Gwen Harter.
FORMAT: Picture book
ISBN: 978-1580895620

Learning proper book care and etiquette can be tough for young overexcited little kids. This simplistic Adobe Illustrator built book focuses on a boy and his treatment of the blue book. On the first page it becomes apparent that the little boy has a reputation for mistreating book and all of the books are alarmed at his arrival in the library. The next several pages show the boy tearing, bending, throwing, folding, and dragging the book around and the book looks scared and in pain. The mom collects her son and the book is tossed on the ground to be rescued and repaired by his book friends. When the boy returns the blue book hides in terror but he gets caught, the other books rescue the book. The boy is really sad, not understanding why the blue book was so unhappy and the book feels bad and returns to the boy, who figures out how to treat the book nicely, ending with the two reading at bedtime. Throughout the book in the background it is obvious that other library users know how respect the books, reading quietly at the tables holding the books correctly. There is very little thought put into the resolution of the book, frustratingly the boy seems to magically learn his lesson making it hard to explain the correct ways of caring for books because there is never a clear demonstration. While it has its flaws this book is functional as a gateway to proper library use, book care and repair, and how to get excited about books.