Skip to main content

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle

Flora and the Flamingo is the latest picture book by Molly Idle, who spent the first five years after earning her BFA working for DreamWorks Animation Studios. Flora and the Flamingo is utterly charming, absolutely lovely and magnificently memorable. Give this book to a child (which I recommend you do as soon as possible) and I guarantee you it will be in her possession twenty years from now and, if she happens to lose track of Flora and the Flamingo while she is in college, I have no doubt she will scour the shelves of a bookstore, probably with her boyfriend, looking for "that cool flamingo" book from her childhood. As a bookseller, I witnessed this phenomena all the time - two young adults would wander into the kid's section then spend the next hour perusing the books, looking for old favorites and reading out loud to each other. Not all picture books achieve this kind of immortality and it's hard to predict which ones will survive the decades, but I'm betting Flora and the Flamingo will be around for a while.

Knowing that Idle worked as an animator makes sense after reading Flora and the Flamingo, which is a very visual wordless story that dynamic and lyrical in its illustrations. In addition to this, Flora and the Flamingo is the RARE picture book that makes use of the color pink (in a big way) without being the least bit girlie or princess-y. Idle has separated the color from the symbols that often crowd it out, reminding me what a beautiful hue pink really is. In Flora and the Flamingo, pink is serene. Pink is elegant. Pink is sublime.

Flora and the Flamingo tells the story of two dancers - or are they just a bird and a swimmer? A flamingo gracefully alights on the title page. On the next page, as the flamingo stands elegantly on one leg, a big black flipper emerges from the edge of the facing page. From that moment on, the adorable Flora in her swimming cap does her best to follow the delicate movements of the bird but it's not always as easy as it looks.

But, Flora and the Flamingo is a story of friendship and, while the flamingo seems to be frustrated with Flora from time to time, ultimately the two find friendship in their shared passion. By the end of the book, Flora is leaping as neatly and nimbly as the flamingo. The final four page spread shows the two joyously making a big splash, ending with a bow.

But, among many wonderful things about Flora and the Flamingo, the best surprise are the flaps that reveal more moves from the dancers, giving the book and extra dose of special. For the best experience of this, be sure to watch the brief video below!

As I read Flora and the Flamingo, I couldn't help but think of the flamingos from Disney's Fantasia 2000.


storytimebooks said…
What a cute book. I will have to check this one out. I agree, the flamingos..especially dancing, reminded me of the flamingo short in Fantasia too.
Tanya said…
It is really a gem. Hope you like it as much as I do!

Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…