Cassidy Jackson-Carroll (text), Graeme Compton (illus.), Flavio the Flamingo, Little Steps Books, 1 July 2017, 32pp., $14.95 (pbk), ISBN: 9781925545388
Flavio the Flamingo tells the story of Flavio, a flamingo who has lost his colour pink. Feeling lost, Flavio asks various animals if they have seen his colour, but no other animal is able to help him. He struggles on alone until he finds his flamboyance of flamingos, and this sense of community allows him to shine pink once more.
Reading this book aloud to my five year old, I noticed that the meter and rhyme were a bit awkward. They aren’t bad, they just aren’t as effortless as some other rhyming picture books I’ve read and the repeating start is a bit formulaic. However the concept and themes within this story are great. It explores feelings of belonging, searching for your true self, and feeling pride in your uniqueness.
I can see it being used in the early primary school years to illustrate the experience most kids have of wandering around at recess feeling lost and unable to find their group. Flavio doesn’t give up and finds his flamboyance, just as kids are encouraged to find people with whom they connect.
Graeme Compton’s gorgeous water colour illustrations really bring the book to life and were my favourite thing about it. The animals were rendered in compelling poses that allowed their unique personalities to shine through. I especially loved the giraffe—all ungainly and magnificent.
Flavio the Flamino is suitable for children aged two to six and is an anthropomorphic tale with the themes of family, community, self-pride and finding your true self.
Reviewed by Renee Mihulka