A Dance of Friendship: Molly Idle’s Flora and the Peacocks

BookendsLynn: I thought the previous two Flora books were stellar but I am almost speechless with admiration for Molly Idle’s new book, Flora and the Peacocks (2016). It’s subtly drawn, with nuanced expressions, but is also stunningly dramatic, showing a masterful use of color, line, and space that extends to the physical features of the book itself. This is simply brilliant in every way!

Flora and the PeacocksThe wordless story literally unfolds as the little dancer, Flora, steps onto the white page with her fan. The opposite page features two beautiful, blue-and-green peacocks facing each other behind their folded tail feathers. As Flora bows, she interests one of the peacocks, who steps across the gutter onto the verso while the other retreats further away on the recto, their beautiful tail feathers rising and falling in tune with their emotions. Readers participate in the delicate dance of friendship and jealousy as the movable fans and peacock tails reflect the exploratory push-and-pull of each character. When Flora’s fan is torn in two by the jealous peacocks, she flees across the page to sit alone with bowed head while, on the verso page, the peacocks realize what has happened. A spectacular fold-out resolution that triumphantly proclaims the sweet new trio actually made me tear up.

Every page-turn is brilliantly crafted and each reading provides another discovery. This beautiful book is truly something special.

Cindy: Lynn is so right. Flora’s wordless dances with her feathered friends in the Caldecott Honor Book Flora and the Flamingo (2013), and its sequel, Flora and the Penguin (2014) have been a delight, but this edition is something very special. The dance of friendship is precarious when there are just two friends, but add in a third, and there are bound to be struggles. Fortunately, the troubles are smoothed out by story’s end, and all wraps up beautifully, literally and figuratively.

Young children are enchanted by fans—the folding and unfolding seems almost magical. Cue up a video of real peacocks to show off the natural beauty of those stunning feathers as they fan in and out, fold some paper fans, and share this book and you will have a memorable storytime.

If you can’t wait to open this book and lift the flaps and participate in the dance of friendship, check out this full-reveal book trailer.





About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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