Flora and the Flamingo – a book that dances

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Please don’t dismiss this as another ‘pink ballet book’.

It’s quite early in the year to be declaring favourites but Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle has completely stolen my heart.

There are two characters in this thoroughly beautiful, wordless book – the graceful flamingo and the somewhat less graceful (but charming), Flora. Through an elaborate dance, which begins with Flora mimicking the flamingo and finishes with perfect synchronicity, you watch a friendship between this unlikely pair unfold.

There is so much humour in Idle’s delicate, uncluttered illustrations. It begins with Flora’s awkward flopping around (hampered by her flippers), as she strives to copy the flamingo – unbeknownst to the flamingo, of course. With some tentative glances from Flora and some sharp looks from the flamingo, Flora is soon beaming.

And here’s the stroke-of-genius – most pages have flaps over both the flamingo and Flora. Pull down the flaps one at a time and their call-and-response dance unfolds. It’s fluid, dynamic and the story finishes with a dramatic splash.

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The book is suitable for children aged three years and up. It has been the frontrunner as the bedtime story for my five-year-old for more than a fortnight now and I’m quite sure it will become a library treasure.

If, like me, you’re a flamingo lover, have a look at the very pink flamingo round-up we featured two years ago.

Find Flora and the Flamingo online at Book Depository, who ship free to Australia.

Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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