Flora and the Flamingo

Girl makes a feathered friend in whimsical, wordless outing.
ALA Best and Notable BooksCaldecott Medal and Honors

What parents need to know

Educational value

Shows various flamingo and ballet poses as well as an exuberant swimmer's cannon ball.

Positive messages

You can learn from and have fun with someone very different from you, even if you're not the same species, and even without speaking. You can communicate and become friends through dance -- or splashing around together in water.

Positive role models

The flamingo is a model of poise, form, and restraint. Flora, the little girl, is a model of curiosity, open-mindedness, willingness to try new things, and openness to making a new friend, even if it's a bird.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Molly Idle's Caldecott Honor Book Flora and the Flamingo is a wonderful, wordless picture book that shows an encounter between a pear-shaped little girl and a stately flamingo. Suspicious of each other at first, the two get to know each other through imitation and dance, and the seemingly uptight bird learns from the free-spirited kid to let loose and try a hearty cannonball jump into the water. Interactive flaps help tell the story and underscore the two characters' evolving rapport, whimsically captured in author-illustrator Molly Idle's comic pink-and-white illustrations.

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What's the story?

A little girl named Flora looks as if she's headed for the pool or beach in her pink one-piece swim suit, yelow bathing cap, and maroon flippers when she comes across a pink flamingo, whose poses she begins to imitate. Their silent communication is suspicious at first, then builds to a friendly rapport and a shared dance, in which their pink bodies (the bird clothed in pink feathers, Flora in a pink swim suit) move in united balletic grace, culminating in an exuberant shared plunge in the water.

Is it any good?


FLORA AND THE FLAMINGO is a fresh, clever, wordless, opposites-attract story in which a stately flamingo teaches a round-bellied little girl to pose and dance, and free-spirited little Flora teaches the bird to lighten up. Interactive flaps add layers of emotion and communication to the tale, as the two characters with distinct personalities slowly get to know each other. It's pure fun with a mostly pink-and-white palette of spare comic images set against stark white pages.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about wordless stories. How does the author tell the story and move the action along by using only pictures? Have you read other wordless books you like?

  • How are Flora and the flamingo alike? How are they different?

  • Have you ever made a new freind at the beach or a pool? What did you do together without talking that helped you get to know the person?

Book details

Author:Molly Idle
Illustrator:Molly Idle
Genre:Picture Book
Topics:Arts and dance, Friendship, Great girl role models
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Chronicle Books
Publication date:March 5, 2013
Number of pages:44
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 6
Read aloud:3 - 6
Read alone:4 - 6
Available on:Hardback, Kindle
Awards:ALA Best and Notable Books, Caldecott Medal and Honors

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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