Klutzy but endearing Flora (dumpily clad in swimsuit, bathing cap and flippers) and a dancing flamingo are the protagonists of this whimsical, wordless tale, which will have special appeal for budding ballerinas.
Initially playing hard to get, then gradually warming to her overtures, the flamingo literally takes Flora under his wing and teaches her to dance. The story of the evolving camaraderie between this unlikely duo is told with humor and compassion through the use of a delicate flowing line and a limited, subtle color palette (mostly pink). The occasional simple rectangular fold-down flap cleverly allows each character to reveal a quirky new gesture or change of mood when the story demands. Illustrator Idle’s prior experience as a DreamWorks animator is evident in the flowing, musical quality of the illustrations; one can almost hear the 3/4 beat of a waltz in the background. The seamless grace of the flamingo’s dance contrasts humorously with Flora’s faltering steps, but by the end of the story, they swoop, plunge and soar together like old ballet partners.
Courageous use of white space—several pages contain a solitary waterlily—and a confident animated style are used to good effect in this sweet story of a young girl and her unlikely mentor. (Picture book. 3-6)