I’ve always found it to be pretty amazing that flamingos sleep with one leg in the air. I mean, the sheer knobby kneed-to-body ratio makes it quite the feat! Flora and the Flamingo is not, however, a tale about a flamingo’s knobby knees, but rather is a wonderfully illustrated and delicate attempt to show a friendship develop between two unlikely characters.
Flora is a young girl donned in a yellow floral swim cap, pink swimsuit and oversized brown feet (due to the flippers she is sporting). The Flamingo has string thin legs, extremely pliable wings and a pink body due to the diet he has chosen (presumably, flamingos are pink because of the shrimp and algae they eat).
The story begins with the flamingo, lots of white space, and a cumbersome flipper entering stage right. As the reader turns the page, they are invited to lift the flaps and watch as the two begin sparring for each other’s attention. There is initial uncertainty, some humiliation and rejection (much like any good friendship). Then a wonderful ballet performance ensues, symbolizing the beautiful synchronicity and reciprocity friendship brings.
Flora and the Flamingo, a 2014 Caldecott Honored choice was written and illustrated by former DreamWorks animator, Molly Idle and, when reading the book, it is easy to see that the author has had an animation background. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Idle is adept at capturing subtle facial nuances that make the reader empathize with the characters and the situation. This is a wonderful read for those young and old who understand the stakes and rewards of enduring friendships.
-a post from Victoria