A flamingo who doesn’t look anything like the rest of her flock is tired of always standing out.
Barber’s picture book emphasizes the positive message that it’s okay to be different. Lu Lu’s blue feathers make her a star attraction at the zoo where she lives, but after a frightening encounter with one young zoo visitor, Lu Lu decides that she’s tired of being a celebrity. The bird visits Dr. Havalook who mixes up a special batch of pink paint to coat her from head to toe. She’s excited that she finally looks like the rest of the flamingos. But the reaction of her fellow zoo animals makes her regret her decision. Scared that she might have to be pink forever, she hurries back to Dr. Havalook who gives her the good news that she can go back to her old blue self at any time. Her friends help wash off all the pink paint, and Lu Lu goes back to being the blue flamingo. She’s delighted to be a zoo superstar once again. Colorful, realistic illustrations will appeal to kids. Some wordy passages and some longer words—“When the zoo keeper searched for his prized bird, he was horrified that Lu Lu refused to come out for anyone!”—mean this book isn’t suited to beginning readers, but it will certainly work as a read-aloud. The tale concludes with a fill-in page and two coloring pages, which make for useful extension activities but could prove problematic for library and classroom use. The message is a simple but timeless one: celebrate what makes one unique rather than trying to hide those differences. Young listeners should have no problem identifying the message with a few helpful prompts. The book will also provide a useful springboard for discussions about identity and personal traits.
Uniqueness triumphs in this colorful, fun tale of an unusual flamingo.