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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Flora and the Flamingo, by Molly Idle. Chronicle Books, Raincoast. 2013. $18.99 ages 3 and up

A girl named Flora.

A beautiful pink flamingo.

Can they find common ground?

Will they find harmony
in dancing together?

My first accolade must go to Molly Idle for creating this engaging and oh, so endearing meeting between Flora, a young girl clad in bathing suit, bathing cap and flippers, and an elegant and regal flamingo. But, before I go further...I want to say Bravo! to Chronicle Books for its publication! It is not every publishing house that would accept the challenge of time and expense to get this lovely look at teaching and learning into the hands of young and aspiring artists. With its inset flaps, a whole new dimension is added to the wordless tale.

The flamingo touches down gracefully and is soon followed onto the spread by Flora, who mimics the elegance of the bird's stance. Turn the page, turn down the flap and Flora displays her propensity for doing exactly as the bird does.

There are some awkward moments. That is to be expected from anyone trying something brand new. Flora has surely just begun instruction. There are no tutus or toe shoes here. Each page turn shows the flamingo on the left, and Flora on the right. It takes the bird a few moves to realize that she has company. Flora seems to be holding her own. Following a tumble and a little pout, the two seem to find common ground again. The bird offers aid, and the two undertake a graceful duet that will leave the audience cheering and wanting to see the dance one more time...and maybe once again.

It is a book of beauty and simplicity, while also showing the joy to be found in thoughtful acts of kindness and the true meaning of being a friend. Just lovely, and a perfect gift for an aspiring dancer!

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